The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

90° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    FAMU administrator charged with fraud

    ORLANDO, Fla. — The director of special events at Florida A&M University has been arrested and charged with eight counts of fraud related to travel expenses, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

    Tammy Hamlet’s arrest comes months after the FDLE began investigating the hazing death of FAMU drum major Robert Champion in Orlando in November.

    As officials began reviewing the circumstances of Champion’s death after the Florida Classic football game, they discovered information prompting them to look into financial irregularities connected to the music department and other areas of the university.

    Hamlet, 45, of Tallahassee, Fla., turned herself in to the Leon County Sheriff’s Office on Monday night. She’s accused of submitting eight fraudulent travel vouchers, collecting $1,821 more than she should have received to cover her travel expenses.

    FDLE officials could not say whether additional arrests will be forthcoming as the agency’s financial probe nears its completion. But Hamlet is the latest in a string of FAMU administrators and employees who have been forced out or have faced public scrutiny as numerous problems at FAMU surfaced after Champion’s death.

    Last month, President James Ammons announced his plans to retire in October. But the school’s board of trustees asked him to leave immediately.

    It was not clear Tuesday how Hamlet’s arrest on the eight misdemeanor fraud charges might affect her job. She has been director of special events at FAMU since 2008, a position that pays $83,190 a year, according to the university.

    She started working at FAMU in 1992 as an administrative assistant.

    FAMU interim president Larry Robinson, released a brief statement Tuesday. Hamlet could not be reached for comment.

    “The university continues to refine its processes and procedures in an effort to prevent financial irregularities,” Robinson said. “As a result of Mrs. Hamlet’s arrest, the university will take appropriate actions related to this matter.”

    According to FDLE, its investigators analyzed a variety of travel-related charges that FAMU employees made on university credit cards between July 2010 and June 2011. They discovered “numerous discrepancies” in the reimbursements that Hamlet had requested for travel expenses.

    While FDLE had been tight-lipped about their ongoing financial investigation, university trustees learned months ago that FAMU had been distributing per diem payments and covering other costs for dozens of people who were not authorized to be in the marching band.

    About 60 of the people who traveled with the famed band to the Florida Classic — including three of those charged in Champion’s death — were not FAMU students. They also were not enrolled in the class that band members are required to take at FAMU.

    A total of 11 former band members have pleaded not guilty to felony hazing in Champion’s death.
    Besides FDLE, other groups have been looking into FAMU’s problems.

    The Board of Governors, which oversees the State University System, has been scrutinizing FAMU’s internal controls to see whether the administration did enough to prevent hazing in the months before Champion died.

    A draft report on that review is supposed to be finished in September.

    The Board of Governors also has been looking into issues related to FAMU’s low graduation rates and the more than a dozen faulty internal audits that were submitted to the state last year.

    FAMU’s accrediting body — the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges — is looking into problems related to, among other things, campus safety and university finances.

    Over the past several months, the Tallahassee Police Department and the FAMU police department have launched several investigations related to hazing within the marching band.

    A total of seven students were charged in December and January with hazing in connection with incidents unrelated to Champion’s death.

    Two music professors were forced to quit after Tallahassee police released a report in March accusing the two men of being present at an off-campus hazing.

    More to Discover
    Activate Search