Ex-White House adviser pleads guilty in $218,000 education network scam

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The founder of a national charter school network, Seth Andrew, pleaded guilty Friday to a charge alleging he stole over $200,000 from the network. Andrews once served as a White House adviser under President Barack Obama.

Andrews, 42, a founder of Democracy Prep, entered the plea in Manhattan federal court to wire fraud, admitting that he moved money in 2019 from the charter schools network to other bank accounts without authorization.

Andrew seemed very emotional in court and told Judge John P. Cronan “I am truly sorry for what I have done,” and “What I did was wrong and I deeply regret my actions.”

“And, as I stand before you today, I have tremendous remorse for the impact it has had on the schools, the alumni and my own family,” he added.

Democracy Prep was founded by Andrew in New York City in 2005. Once its methods helped raise test scores for economically challenged children in Harlem, it expanded across the United States.

In spring 2013, Andrew left his role as a superintendent in his schools network to work in the U.S. Department of Education and as a senior adviser in the Office of Educational Technology at the White House. The job lasted until November 2016.

The Star reported that “in court documents, authorities said Andrew stole $218,000 from the schools he helped create and then used the money to obtain the best interest rate his bank offered on a mortgage for a $2 million Manhattan apartment he bought with his spouse.”

Andrew admitted that he tried to make it appear as though the money he took from the schools came from a civic organization but instead was placed in his personal accounts.

Andrew told bank employees he had authorization to transfer the Democracy Prep funds when he did not.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said “Andrew, a former White House adviser, admitted today to devising a scheme to steal from the very same schools he helped create” and “Andrew now faces time in federal prison for abusing his position and robbing those he promised to help.”

Defense attorneys Tim Doherty and Edward Kim said in a statement that Andrew for over two decades:

“has worked tirelessly to expand educational, democratic, and technological opportunity to disenfranchised communities around the world.“

“Seth’s life has always been motivated by a civic mission and he deeply regrets his past mistakes. He has, with courage, accepted responsibility for them,”

“With the help and support of his family and loved ones, Seth looks forward to deepening his commitment to service and innovation in the next chapter of his life.”

The Star reported that “Andrew has agreed to pay $218,000 in restitution to the Charter School Network. Sentencing was scheduled for April 14, when he faces up to 20 years in prison, although prosecutors and defense lawyers agreed in a written plea deal that a sentence ranging from 21 to 27 months in prison was appropriate.”

This article was originally sourced by www.thestar.com.