Melinda Umphrey pleads guilty in Fire College case

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) - The wife of a former Shelton State Community College president has pleaded guilty to three federal wire fraud counts and will forfeit more than $156,700 in pay and benefits reaped from a phony job she got at the Alabama Fire College.

Melinda Kay Umphrey, 59, of McCalla pleaded guilty Monday to the charges during a hearing in Huntsville before U.S. District Court Judge Lynwood Smith. Her sentencing is scheduled for April 16.

Her plea agreement had been announced in August.

Her husband, Thomas Umphrey, was president at Shelton State from 1988 until he retired in 2000.

Prosecutors said she was fraudulently employed at the fire college at Shelton State from June 2001 to December 2003 with an annual salary of about $40,000.

She is one of more than a dozen people with ties to the two-year college system to enter guilty pleas or be convicted or indicted in a probe of the system.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)