Mesquite teacher's aide fired after faking cancer diagnosis
A Mesquite ISD teacher's aide who faked a cancer diagnosis to conceal a criminal case in West Virginia has been fired, the district confirmed to News 8 Wednesday.
A federal judge Tuesday ordered a new investigation into Kevin MaBone, who pleaded guilty in October to misappropriating $6,600 in taxpayer dollars from 2007 to 2014.
MaBone, 56, surrendered to U.S. Marshals Wednesday in West Virginia.
MaBone was hired by Mesquite ISD in August and worked at Wilkinson Middle School as a teacher's aide for students with behavioral issues.
In December he told Principal Leslie Feinglas he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
The staff and students rallied around him and raised nearly $11,300 in donations via GoFundMe to offset medical expenses. They also presented him with a 2005 Mercury Grand Marquis on Friday. The vehicle, valued at $5,000, was donated by a local paint and body shop.
MaBone told his coworkers the donations and vehicle would allow him to take a few days off for surgery set for this week. Feinglas told News 8 that MaBone called her on Monday and told her he was cured of cancer.
"That was a major red flag," Feinglas said.
MaBone plans to return the car to the district on Thursday.
A Mesquite police school resource officer did a Google search for MaBone's name and found his guilty plea in West Virginia.
MaBone admitted misappropriating funds in 2014 and 2015 while he worked at a job corps center in Charleston, saying he used company credit cards to pay for fuel in his personal vehicle, according to the Department of Justice.
“We’re heartbroken. We’re embarrassed,” Feinglas said. "To know that he did this to the staff, he did this to the students, he took money from our students -- how can someone do that?”
Mesquite ISD said a federal criminal background check when MaBone was hired in August revealed only a bankruptcy and lien filing a decade ago.
Director of District Communications Laura Jobe said the district is unclear why his guilty plea in October did not come to their attention.
"We were just completely duped in this situation,” Jobe said.
Feinglas said she is working with GoFundMe to help reimburse parents and students who donated money online. Ninety percent of the students at Wilkinson Middle School qualify for free and reduced lunch, according to Mesquite ISD.
The donated vehicle has not been returned. It's believed that MaBone drove it to West Virginia to appear for his federal sentencing on Tuesday.