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

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NEW YORK (AP) — The founder of a national charter school network who once served as a White House adviser under President Barack Obama pleaded guilty Friday to a charge alleging he stole over $200,000 from the network.

Seth Andrew, a founder of Democracy Prep, entered the plea in Manhattan federal court to a wire fraud charge.

In a release, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said Andrew robbed the people he promised to help.

Andrew, 42, has agreed to pay restitution to the Charter School Network. Sentencing was scheduled for April 14.

Andrew was a founder of Democracy Prep when it started in New York City in 2005. It later expanded across the United States, flourishing after its methods helped raise test scores for economically challenged children in Harlem.

According to a criminal complaint, Andrew left his role as a superintendent in his schools network in the spring of 2013 and began working in the U.S. Department of Education and as a senior adviser in the Office of Educational Technology at the White House until November 2016.

In court papers, authorities said Andrew stole $218,000 from the schools he helped create and then used the money to obtain a better interest rate on a mortgage for a $2.3 million Manhattan apartment.

Andrew tried to make it appear as though the money he took from the schools came from a civic organization he controls, according to court papers.

They said he used the money to qualify for a half-percent interest rate reduction — the largest his bank allowed — on his 1.7 million purchase with his spouse of a Manhattan residence in August 2019.

The Associated Press

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