A former White House adviser has been arrested and charged by the FBI with stealing $218,005 from charter schools he helped found.
Seth Andrew, 42, served under former President Barack Obama as a senior adviser in the Office of Educational Technology.
He was arrested on charges of wire fraud, money laundering, and making false statements to a financial institution. Federal prosecutors said that he used more than half of the allegedly stolen money to maintain his bank account above a threshold that enabled him to get better interest rates for a mortgage of his multimillion Manhattan apartment.
“As alleged, Seth Andrew abused his position as a founder of a charter school network to steal from the very same schools he helped create,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said.
“Andrew is not only alleged to have stolen the schools’ money but also to have used the stolen funds to obtain a savings on a mortgage for a multimillion-dollar Manhattan apartment. Thanks to the FBI’s diligent work, Andrew now faces federal charges for his alleged scheme,” she added.
Andrew will enter a plea of not guilty in a Manhattan Federal Court, attorney Michael Yaeger told The Epoch Times via email.
“Seth will enter a plea of not guilty, we’re reviewing the papers that were just unsealed this morning,” Yaeger said.
Andrew is the founder of a prominent chain of charter schools based in New York named Democracy Prep, which he founded in 2005. The chain now operates 21 schools across the country, tutoring 6,500 students.
Natasha Trivers, the CEO of Democracy Prep, wrote to families and students that after she took over as CEO in 2019, a “series of financial safeguards” led directly “to the discovery of Seth’s unauthorized withdrawals,” CNBC reported.
“Seth left our network in 2013,” Trivers stated. “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. To be clear, at no time did the alleged crimes pose any risk to our students, staff or operations in any way.”
“The network’s finances remain strong, and at no time did any of the activity by Seth Andrew have any adverse effect on our scholars or the functioning of our schools,” she added.
“Locking into the lowest interest rate when applying for a loan is certainly the objective of every home buyer, but when you don’t have the necessary funds to put down, and you steal the money from your former employer to make up the difference, saving money in interest is likely to be the least of your concerns,” said FBI Assistant Director in New York William Sweeney Jr.