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Tuesday, Mar 31, 2015

Official offered deal on charges

Jeff Schmucker Hernando Today
Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 07:08 PM

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A school district transportation director facing fraud charges could get off with simply having to pay court costs and being directed to stay away from his fraud victim — his ex-wife.

Following court proceedings Thursday, Mathew Pila, a prosecutor for the state attorney's office, said district Transportation Director Doug Compton is being offered the deal due to his lack of criminal history and that the victim in the case suffered no financial loss.

Compton was arrested in July after his ex-wife reported that he had taken out a student loan in her name following their divorce about three years ago.

Deputies also reported at that time that Compton had made all payments on the loan.

"The victim wasn't out of any money," Pila said. "So (if Compton accepts the plea) it would be a matter of him paying court costs and staying out of trouble."

Compton's ex-wife has refused to agree to any sort of resolution that would involve dropping the charges, leaving the option for Compton to either plea out or go to trial, Pila said.

Superintendent Bryan Blavatt said the outcome of the case wouldn't impact Compton's employment with the district.

That's a change from this summer when Blavatt said if found guilty, he would likely have to be removed.

However, after discussing the matter with the school district's attorneys, he said the felony charge doesn't meet criteria to suspend, fire or otherwise punish Compton.

"It depends on what the final decision is," Blavatt said, "but in talking with our attorney, this would not reach that level."

According to the arrest report by the Hernando County Sheriff's Office, Compton's ex-wife contacted deputies in Pasco County claiming Compton had taken out a $7,000 student loan using her identity.

Compton claimed that his ex-wife had agreed to help him obtain the loan as part of their divorce settlement in 2010. However, deputies learned Compton had used her information in May 2011 and his wife said she never agreed to allow Compton to do so, according to the report. Compton chose to then turn himself in rather than have deputies come to his place of work and arrest him. He was charged and released on bond and was allowed to report back to work.

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