A former administrative manager at Vanderbilt University Law School was sentenced to 22 years in prison on October 9 after pleading guilty to 17 counts of fraud, theft and statutory rape.
Jason Hunt, who performed various financial duties at the law school from 2005 to 2011, stole at least $535,962 from Vanderbilt using a school-issued credit card and through check fraud. He forged check approval requests and e-mail correspondence involving goods and services that were never provided to the law school, according to Davidson County, Tenn., District Attorney’s office in Nashville. The thefts occurred between April 2010 and October 2011, prosecutors said.
The law school began to investigate Hunt in October 2011 after being tipped off that he was using university money for personal expenses. He was placed on administrative leave and left Nashville to open a nightclub called Creme in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, with his domestic partner Samuel “Cole” Wakefield, according to prosecutors.
The nightclub failed and Hunt returned to the United States. He was arrested in his home state of Arkansas in January. He was extradited to Nashville, and Wakefield was arrested soon after.
Vanderbilt turned over the results of an internal audit to the district attorney’s fraud office. Investigators concluded that some of the checks forged by Hunt were cashed by a pair of 17-year-old boys with whom Hunt and Wakefield had sex, leading to the statutory rape changes, prosecutors said.
Hunt was indicted in February on 60 counts and Wakefield on 19 counts. They pleaded not guilty at the time, but this week entered guilty pleas. They had been scheduled to go to trial next month.
Wakefield pleaded guilty to six counts and was sentenced to 10 years. He and Hunt will be placed on the sex offender registry and will serve at least 30 percent of their sentences, prosecutors said.
Contact Karen Sloan at firstname.lastname@example.org.