The Washington Post

EX-U.S. adviser pleads guilty in school scam


The founder of a national charter school network who once served as a White House adviser to President Barack Obama pleaded guilty Friday to charges that 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.

Education Department 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 the purchase with his spouse of the Manhattan residence in August 2019.

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