Former White House Adviser Seth Andrew Pleads Guilty To Stealing $218,000 From Charter School Network

former white house adviserFormer White House adviser Seth Andrew pleaded guilty to stealing $218,000 from a charter school network. He allegedly stole $218,000 from the network to get a lower interest rate on a multimillion-dollar luxury Manhattan apartment.

Andrew once served as a White House adviser under President Barack Obama. He pleaded guilty to a single charge of wire fraud.

He admitted that he moved money in 2019 from the charter school network to other bank accounts without authorization.

Federal prosecutors also been charged Andrew with money laundering. They also charged him with making a false statement to a bank.

He faces up to 20 years in prison at his scheduled April 14 sentencing.

In 2005, Andrew was a founder of Democracy Prep when it started in New York City. 

Students at the school make up of mostly lower-income people of color. It has helped raise test scores for economically challenged children in Harlem. It’s success allowed the school to expanded across the United States. 

Andrew left his role as a superintendent of the school in 2013. The Obama Administration hired him 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.

Former White House Adviser Stole The Money To Get A Better Deal On A Mortgage

Federal prosecutors allege Andrew stole $218,000 to obtain a better interest rate on a mortgage. He and his wife were trying to buy a $2.37 million apartment Central Park West. Central Park West is a wealthy section of Manhattan. 

Prosecutors also allege Andrew looted escrow accounts of Democracy Prep network nearly two years after he severed ties with them.

The stolen money helped Andrew qualify for a $1.78 million mortgage with a 2.5% interest rate. Andrew’s wife is CBS News anchor Lana Zak. 

Authorities say Andrew closed two of the three of the school’s escrow accounts on March 28, 2019. 

As a result, Andrew received a bank check in the amount of $71,881.23 made payable to Democracy Prep Charter School. He also received a second bank check in the amount of $70,642.98. This check was payable to Democracy Prep Harlem.

Seth Andrew Opens A Fraudulent Business Bank Account

Andrew entered entered a Manhattan bank and opened a business bank account in the name of Democracy Prep. 

Andrew allegedly told a bank employee that he was a key executive with the charter school network. Of course, this was a lie. He deposited the $71,881.23 check into the account. However, he did not deposit the second check.

On April 2, 2019, Andrew used an ATM machine in Baltimore, Maryland, to deposit the second check. Prosecutors say Andrew waited to deposit Check-2. Check-2 was made payable to Democracy Prep Harlem.

The bank would not have honored the second check had he tried to deposit it with the first check.

On October 17, 2019, Andrew closed the third escrow account. He received a check made payable to Democracy Prep Endurance in the amount of $75,481.10.

Four days later, Andrew deposited that check into an account at a different bank.  

Andrew obtained a check for the total of $144,473.29 a month later. This check consisted of the funds allegedly stolen from two of Democracy Prep’s escrow accounts. 

Andrew deposited those funds into the same account where the $75,481.10 was deposited. 

Andrew rolled the funds in the account into a certificate of deposit a week later. 

That certificate of deposit matured on May 20, 2020. Andrew earned $2,083.52 in interest.

Former White House Adviser Tried To Hide The Theft

Andrew admitted that he tried to make it appear as though the money he took from the schools came from a civic organization he controls as he moved money from the schools network accounts to his personal accounts and later to the nonprofit’s account from March to October of 2019.

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

Andrew has agreed to pay the entire $218,000 back to the Charter School Network.

Democracy Prep now operates 24 schools with more than 7,000 students in New York, New Jersey, Louisiana, Nevada and Texas. 

It has called Andrew’s unauthorized withdrawals “a profound betrayal.” 

The court has scheduled a sentencing hearing for April 14th for Andrew. He faces up to 20 years in prison. However, prosecutors and defense lawyers agreed in a written plea deal that a sentence ranging from 21 to 27 months in prison was appropriate.

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