Hunt, Wakefield plead guilty

UPDATE: Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Beth Fortune released this comment: “The university appreciates the efforts of the investigators and office of the district attorney for bringing the criminal case to a swift and fair conclusion.”

Former Nashville Pride President Jason Hunt and his partner Samuel “Cole” Wakefield have entered guilty pleas in Davidson County Criminal Court to stealing from Vanderbilt University according to a press release from the Davidson County District Attorney General.

Both were set to go on trial Nov. 5 for multiple counts ranging from theft and credit card fraud to aggravated statutory rape.

Hunt pled guilty to 17 counts and has an effective sentence of 22 years to serve. His parole eligibility status is 30 percent and will be placed on the sex offender registry.

Wakefield pled guilty to six counts with an effective sentence of 10 years with 30 percent parole eligibility. He will also be placed on the sex offender registry.

Hunt was an administrative manager at the law school and was using school funds for person purchases. Results of an internal audit confirmed the missing money.

The findings were turned over to the Fraud Unit of the Davidson County District Attorney’s office, led by Assistant D.A. Jim Milam, for further investigation.  

An investigation between April 2010 and October 2011 found Hunt used his procurement card for personal purchases benefiting himself, Wakefield and his friends, totaling at least $291,873. These transactions were not authorized by the university. 

During that same time period, it was also determined Hunt had checks issued in the aggregate amount of $244,089, for which goods and services were not provided to the university.

Many of these checks were issued based on forged check approval requests as well as forged e-mail correspondence in order to bolster the authenticity of the fraudulent expenditures. The total amount of both check and credit card theft from Vanderbilt University is at least $535,962 according to the press release.

The investigation also determined some of the payees of the forged checks written by Hunt were cashed by two 17-year-old males, with whom both Hunt and Wakefield had sexual relations.

As a result, Hunt was ultimately indicted on 60 counts, ranging from theft and credit card fraud, to forgery and aggravated statutory rape. Wakefield was indicted on 19 counts, also involving theft, credit card fraud and aggravated statutory rape according to the press release.

After being placed on administrative leave by the university, both left Nashville and opened a business in Mexico. They returned when the business failed.

Hunt was arrested in January in Arkansas by federal marshals and Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department deputies. Wakefield was arrested in Nashville shortly later.

Hunt pled guilty to: “Ct. 1 – Theft over $60k, 12 years. Ct 2 – Fraudulent use of a Credit Card, 10 years, to be served consecutively to Ct. 1. The remaining counts are to be served concurrently to each other and to Ct. 1. Cts. 4, 5, 8, 12, 20, and 25 – Forgery, three years each. Cts. 10, 26, and 28 – Forgery, five years each. Cts. 47, 50, and 58 – Aggravated Statutory Rape, two years each. Cts. 33, 40 and 43 – Aggravated Statutory Rape, Best Interest Plea, two years each,” according to the release.

Wakefield pled guilty to: “Ct. 1 – Theft over $60k, 10 years. The remaining counts are to be served concurrently to each other and to Ct. 1. Cts. 32, 46, 49, 51, 53 – Aggravated Statutory Rape, two years each,”according to the release.

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