Fraud trial verdicts in

May 24, 2006

The jury deciding conspiracy and money laundering charges against two South African businessmen has reached verdicts.

Stephan Botes has been found guilty on fifteen counts. He will be taken into custody until his sentencing, which will take place August 22.

The jury in the fraud trial for Linda Schrenko's former co-defendants finds one of the men guilty on 15 charges. The other man walks out of federal court a free man.

Jurors deliberated 4 and a half days, looking over dozens of counts, and now one of Schrenko's former co-defendants is a federal prisoner.

Stephan Botes is the South African businessman found guilty on charges of conspiracy, theft and wire fraud.

Jurors found Peter Steyn not guilty on all charges.

These verdicts mean jurors found Botes was in on a scheme to funnel hundreds of thousands in federal education money from his companies to Schrenko's failing gubernatorial campaign.

Immediately after the verdict was read, prosecutor Russell Vineyard asked the judge to keep Botes in custody, which he did.

Prosecutors all along feared Botes would flee the country.

The verdict means taxpayers should be getting their money back--hundreds of thousands of dollars.

And now Botes, like Schrenko and her former friend and deputy superintendent Merle Temple, is going to prison. Schrenko will serve 8 years. Temple and Botes have yet to be sentenced.