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Seth Andrew, former Obama adviser, pleads guilty in $218,000 school scam

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Seth Andrew, former Obama adviser, pleads guilty in $218,000 school scam

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NEW YORK — The founder of a nationwide network of charter schools who once served as a White House adviser under President Barack Obama pleaded guilty Friday to a charge alleging he stole more than $200,000 from the network.

Seth Andrew, founder of Democracy Prep, pleaded in Manhattan federal court to a wire fraud charge.

In a statement, US Attorney Damian Williams said Andrew robbed people he promised to help.

Andrew, 42, agreed to compensate the Charter School Network. Judgment was scheduled for April 14.

Andrew was one of the founders of Democracy Prep when it started in New York in 2005. It then expanded across the United States, flourishing after its methods helped increase test scores for economically disadvantaged children in Harlem.

According to a criminal complaint, Andrew left his position as superintendent at his network of schools in the spring of 2013 and began working at the U.S. Department of Education and as a senior adviser to the White House Office of Educational Technology until in November 2016.

In court papers, authorities say Andrew stole $218,000 from schools he helped set up, then used the money to get a better interest rate on a mortgage for a 2-bedroom apartment, $3 million in Manhattan.

Andrew tried to make it appear that the money he took out of schools came from a civic organization he controls, according to court documents.

They said he used the money to qualify for a half-percent interest rate cut – the largest allowed by his bank – on his $1.7million purchase with his wife of a residence in Manhattan in August 2019.

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Seth Andrew, former Obama adviser, pleads guilty in $218,000 school scam

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