Wednesday, April 28, 2021

April 28, 2021 - Democracy Prep Charter Founder Seth Andrew Stole YOUR money -

A former senior adviser in the Obama administration was arrested Tuesday on charges that he stole more than $200,000 from a network of charter schools that he founded and used the money to get a lower interest rate on a mortgage for a Manhattan apartment, federal prosecutors said. The founder, Seth Andrew, 42, is accused of taking money from bank accounts controlled by Democracy Prep Public Schools, which teaches mostly low-income students of color in New York and other states, and used it for the purchase of a $2 million apartment, prosecutors said. ..NYT, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/27/us/seth-andrew-fraud-money-laundering-charter-school.html

Today's NY Times has a piece about Seth Andrew using charter school money to buy an apartment in NYC. That money is public funds used to fund charters. The NY Times has its own funny way of framing things with this headline: Former White House Adviser Is Charged With Stealing From Charter School Network

Now I know about good old Seth since he started the Democracy Prep charter scam in 2005 when the public floodgates opened to charters. He even left some whiny comments on some of my blog posts over the years. And of course Obama, the ed deformer in chief, hired him to deform education around the nation. He spent a few hours teaching in Korea before becoming an ed expert in his early 20s.

Now while Democracy Prep claims they were the victims, it is actually the public that was the victim since the money Seth stole really came from public funds. And it further exposes the charter scam that it is about making money, not about the kids.

As always, Ed Notes was on his and Dem Prep's case> Here are a few articles I wrote about Seth Andrew, including a visit I made to a public school housing one of his schools.

2011: Stop Democracy Prep Charter Takeover of PS 197M in Harlem

Democracy Prep Streamrolls PS 197: Hats Off to Antoine Bogard for Leading the Resistance- Where was the UFT?

 
July 17, 2013
August 12, 2013

ED NOTES Aug. 27, 2014 :

Charter Angst: Democracy Prep Parent Ready to Pull Child After 5 Days

All I see every morning and evening is this tall man dressed in bright clothing yelling at the parents every single day since school started... parent at Democracy Prep

DP founder Seth Andrew - or Eva Moskowitz in drag
Oh the joy in this comment on another beloved crooked charter, especially with today's news (see Perdido) about Eva Moskowitz and her move to the financial district - call it "Wall St. Empire" - which might make a good HBO series to follow the gangster-ridden "Boardwalk Empire" - with Eva playing a gun moll who makes Steve Buscemi's character look like a nun.

----

On September 2, 2013 I wrote:

On the Democracy Prep Plantation: When Zero Tolerance Becomes Psychological Warfare

UPDATED:
  • all the teachers at this charter school are white and from out of state. The school's administrators did manage to get two coaches that are African-American from the New York City area. They are the two in charge of the detention room. Is there something wrong with that picture?.....
  • his teachers were directed to video tape him in every classroom. One of the teachers according to him followed him with a camera into the lunch room when he went to pick up his lunch, followed him up the stairs into the hallway and continued videotaping him while he was eating lunch.....
  • It's time to examine the police state structure of some of the charter schools model in the minority community in New York... Former Democracy Prep mother
Ahhh, that ole' plantation mentality at Democracy Prep. Message to Seth Andrew: Don't tick off a parent who is a professional journalist.

Gary Rubinstein pointed out just how bad the Democracy Prep (relative to public schools despite their significant advantages) test scores were in this post: Petrilli’s Desperate Attempt To Save Democracy Prep’s Reputation.  Now, as Gary says, I don't view school success and failure based on test scores. But if charters are going to make big claims based on the scores, then die by the sword. Especially when they set up a regressive "zero tolerance" situation (when there are so many progressive means of discipline, like restorative justice.

another parent who removed her child from Democracy Prep (from their point of view: mission accomplished).

Extracting high test scores at Success 
And even with these policies they still had horrible test scores. Eva is smarter at extracting high scores I guess. Has anyone checked to see if kids at Success
Academy schools still have their fingernails?

 

 

 

 

Here is the article from the Times:

Seth Andrew, who served in the Obama administration, stole more than $200,000 to help him buy a $2 million Manhattan apartment, prosecutors said.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/27/us/seth-andrew-fraud-money-laundering-charter-school.html

 

A former senior adviser in the Obama administration was arrested Tuesday on charges that he stole more than $200,000 from a network of charter schools that he founded and used the money to get a lower interest rate on a mortgage for a Manhattan apartment, federal prosecutors said.

The founder, Seth Andrew, 42, is accused of taking money from bank accounts controlled by Democracy Prep Public Schools, which teaches mostly low-income students of color in New York and other states, and used it for the purchase of a $2 million apartment, prosecutors said.

Mr. Andrew is charged with one count each of wire fraud, money laundering and making a false statement to a bank. The first two charges both carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and the third carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, according to a statement on Tuesday from Audrey Strauss, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., the assistant director-in-charge of the New York field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“Today Andrew himself is learning one of life’s most basic lessons — what doesn’t belong to you is not yours for the taking,” Mr. Sweeney said in the statement.

Mr. Andrew pleaded not guilty and was released on bail, according to court records and his lawyer, Michael Lloyd Yaeger. “We’re currently reviewing the papers that were just unsealed this morning,” he said.

Natasha Trivers, the chief executive of Democracy Prep Public Schools, said that although the organization was not materially affected by the crimes Mr. Andrew was accused of, it was a stark departure from their values.

“His alleged actions are a profound betrayal of all that we stand for and to you and your children, the scholars and families that we serve,” Ms. Trivers wrote to students’ parents on Tuesday.

Mr. Andrew was a young and ambitious educator when he founded Democracy Prep in 2005. He had briefly taught in South Korea and “saw a different model of education” there, he said in a 2017 interview with an education news site, The 74. That model “had taken an entire nation of 50 million people from poverty to prosperity,” and “they used education at the core. And they did it differently than America,” he said.

According to the network’s website, “Seth Andrew founded Democracy Prep in 2005 to ensure that every single student will work hard, go to college, and change the world!” The phrase “Change the world!” is on the back of the yellow baseball cap that Mr. Andrew made part of his signature look.

The network’s first school opened in Harlem in 2006. It eventually expanded to 23 schools, in the Bronx; Camden, N.J.; San Antonio; and Las Vegas. Of the network’s 7,000 students, nearly all are students of color and 85 percent qualify for free lunch, according to the network’s website.

Under an agreement with the New York State Board of Regents, the charter network was required to “maintain an ‘escrow account’ that may be accessed only if the school dissolves,” prosecutors said. Mr. Andrew was a signatory to those accounts and had access to them, they said. The money in the accounts totaled a little more than $218,000.

Propelled by the network’s success, Mr. Andrew landed a job in 2013 in the United States Department of Education and later became a senior adviser in the Office of Educational Technology at the White House under President Barack Obama. In the administration, Mr. Andrew helped promote and improve STEM education, a curriculum focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

While there, Mr. Andrew was still paid by the charter network, according to prosecutors. In November 2016, he left the administration, and by the following January he had formally severed ties with the charter network.

Two years later, Mr. Andrew began tapping into those escrow accounts, prosecutors said. On March 28, 2019, Mr. Andrew walked into a bank and closed two escrow accounts and walked out with two checks totaling more than $142,000, they said.

Later that day Mr. Andrew took one of those checks to open a new account at a different bank, prosecutors said. He told the second bank, which prosecutors did not identify, that he was a “key executive with control of” the charter network. Days later, Mr. Andrew used an A.T.M. to deposit the second check into that account, prosecutors said.

The new bank was not chosen at random: It offered customers a reduced interest rate on their mortgage “for every $250,000 on deposit, up to a total of $1 million,” prosecutors said. Using the $142,000 from the charter schools enabled Mr. Andrew to receive a reduction in the interest rate of 0.5 percentage points, they said.

In late August, Mr. Andrew and his wife, who was not charged, purchased a Manhattan apartment for $2,368,000; they got a mortgage from that second bank for $1,776,000 with an interest rate of 2.5 percent, according to prosecutors.

In October 2019, Mr. Andrew closed the third escrow account and received a check for more than $75,000, prosecutors said. He took that money and opened a new account at a third bank, they said.

Later, Mr. Andrew withdrew more than $144,000 from the second bank and deposited that money into the newest account, bringing funds from all three escrow accounts together, according to prosecutors. He then put that money into a certificate of deposit, which matured on May 20, 2020, earning him more than $2,000, prosecutors said. He then took funds that had originated at Democracy Prep and put them into a new civic organization that he controls, they said.

Ms. Trivers, who took over leadership of Democracy Prep in 2019, said in her letter to parents, “Upon learning of the unauthorized withdrawals, Democracy Prep alerted the appropriate authorities.

“As the victim of this crime,” she wrote, “Democracy Prep has continued to assist the authorities as they investigate and prosecute this crime to the full extent of the law.”

 

 

 

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