Fmr Obama WH adviser pleads guilty to stealing $218K from schools he founded

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Seth Andrew, who is a former Obama White House advisor, pleaded guilty on Friday to wire fraud after scamming over $218,000 from a charter school network that he founded to get the best interest rate on a mortgage for a $2 million Manhattan apartment, according to prosecutors.

Andrew, 42, entered his plea in federal court in Manhatten. He was charged with bilking money from Democracy Prep Public Schools and is scheduled to be sentenced on April 14. According to prosecutors, he could get up to 20 years in prison.

Prosecutors and the defense have reportedly agreed in Andrew’s plea deal that a sentence of between 21 to 27 months is appropriate, Newsweek reported. He has also agreed to pay $218,000 in restitution to the schools.

Damian Williams, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that the former Obama acolyte “admitted today to devising a scheme to steal from the very same schools he helped create. Andrew now faces time in federal prison for abusing his position and robbing those he promised to help.”

He founded the Democracy Prep charter school network in New York City in 2005. It opened its first school in Harlem in 2006. Following successfully increasing test scores in the school, Democracy Prep expanded to 24 schools in New York, New Jersey, Baton Rouge, Las Vegas, and San Antonio, according to the Democracy Prep website.

Andrew worked with the venture until 2013 and then took a position with the U.S. Department of Education. Following that, he was named as a senior adviser in the Office of Educational Technology at the White House, according to court filings. Andrew departed the White House in November of 2016 and officially severed relations with Democracy Prep in early 2017.

Andrew allegedly implemented his scheme to swindle money from the network in 2019 according to prosecutors. He used three school escrow accounts that he was originally a signatory for to pull off his crime. Andrew closed out the accounts on separate dates and moved the funds into other accounts, pocketing interest on them until he diverted the money into a bank account in the name of a civic organization he controlled.

He was arrested in April of 2020. Prosecutors contend that he used that bank account “to obtain savings on a mortgage for a multimillion-dollar Manhattan apartment.”

“Locking into the lowest interest rate when applying for a loan is certainly the objective of every home buyer, but when you don’t have the necessary funds to put down, and you steal the money from your former employer to make up the difference, saving money in interest is likely to be the least of your concerns,” FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. remarked.

Andrew apologized for his actions in court, acknowledging that he had harmed the school and his family, according to the Associated Press.

“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,” defense attorneys Tim Doherty and Edward Kim declared in a statement. “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.”

Somehow, people just aren’t very shocked by this development:


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