Ex-Obama White House Adviser Pleads Guilty In $218,000 School Scam

NEW YORK (Associated Press) – The founder of the National Independent Schools Network who once served as an adviser to the White House under former President Barack Obama pleaded guilty Friday to stealing more than $200,000 from the network.

Seth Andrew, 42, founder of Middle School Democracy, filed the petition in Manhattan federal court for electronic fraud, admitting that he moved money in 2019 from the charter school network to other bank accounts without permission.

Emotional Andrew said in a broken voice to Judge John B. Cronan: “I’m really sorry for what I did.” “What I did was wrong and I deeply regret my actions. As I stand before you today, I deeply regret the impact I have had on the schools, my alumni and my family.”

In 2005, Andrew was the founder of Prep Democracy when it started in New York City. After her methods helped raise test scores for economically disabled children in Harlem, she expanded throughout the United States.

In the spring of 2013, Andrew left his role as a supervisor in his school network to work for the US Department of Education and as a senior advisor in the Office of Educational Technology at the White House. The job lasted until November 2016.

In court papers, authorities said Andrew stole $218,000 from the schools he helped set up and then used it to get the best interest rate his bank offered on a Manhattan apartment he bought with his wife for $2 million.

Andrew admitted Friday that he tried to make it appear as if the money he took from the schools came from a civic organization he controlled as he transferred the money from the school network accounts to his personal accounts and then to the nonprofit’s account from March to October of 2019. He told bank employees That he had permission to divert Democratic Prep money when he didn’t.

“Andrew, a former White House counsel, today admitted to plotting a robbery from the same schools he helped create,” US Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement.

He added: “Andrew now faces a sentence 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 has for more than two decades “worked tirelessly to expand educational, democratic and technological opportunities to disadvantaged communities around the world.”

“Seth’s life has always been driven by a civic mission and he deeply regrets his past mistakes. He has bravely taken responsibility for them,” the attorney said. “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.”

Andrew agreed to pay $218,000 in compensation to the Charter School Network. The verdict was scheduled for April 14, when he faces up to 20 years in prison, although prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed in a written deal that a sentence of 21 to 27 months in prison was appropriate.

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