A former New Orleans Military and Maritime Academy business manager has been charged with theft stemming from $31,000 in fraudulent checks written more than a year ago. The school still hasn’t recovered the money.

Darrell K. Sims, 55, turned himself in to police on Oct. 30, said New Orleans Police Department spokesman Garry Flot. Sims, who also spells his name “Darral,” was booked on a single count of theft of at least $1,500 and was released on bond, according to court records.

While employed at the military academy, Sims wrote checks from the school for $28,500 and $2,500, one in October 2011 and the other in April 2012, Flot said.

The checks were invoiced as if they were written to Office Depot and Tech Depot, according to New Orleans Military and Maritime Academy Commandant Col. Bill Davis. But the checks actually were written to POS Inc., a social organization founded by Sims that is also known as “People of Substance.”

Davis said the school hasn’t received the money from its insurance company because the police report didn’t have enough information. The school is working with NOPD to fix that.

The school fired Sims in May 2012 for other reasons, Davis has said. Sims is employed as a data manager at Joseph A. Craig Charter School.

Reached at Craig, Sims said, “I’ll be glad when this is all over.” He referred all questions to his lawyer, Benny George, who wasn’t immediately available for comment.

He has been charged with stealing from a school before. While a Terrebone Parish teacher in the 1996-97 school year, he was accused of stealing $1,642 entrusted to him through his position, according to a Terrebone Parish assistant district attorney. Sims entered pretrial intervention rather than face trial, so he was never convicted of a crime.

Sims also has been arrested repeatedly for writing worthless checks. He declared bankruptcy in 2011.

The military academy’s pre-employment background check for Sims didn’t reveal the prior charges in part because it checked just the previous seven years, Davis has said.

Friends of King Schools attorney Tracie Washington has said that its background check didn’t reveal anything, either.

Prior to joining the military school, Sims worked at the Recovery School District from 2007 to 2010 as a data manager, school accountant and clerk, and, finally, a technology teacher, an RSD spokeswoman has said.

Jessica Williams

Jessica Williams stays on top of the city's loosely organized collection of public schools, with a special emphasis on charter schools. In 2011 she was recognized by the Press Club of New Orleans for her...