(PresidentialWire.com)- A former education advisor during the Obama administration was arrested Tuesday on charges related to stealing from charter schools.
Federal authorities announced that 42-year-old Seth Andrew was arrested in New York City on Tuesday. Andrew faces charges of creating a scheme to seal more than $200,000 from a public charter school network that he founded.
Andrew is the founder of Democracy Prep Public Schools. Federal authorities have now accused him of stealing more than $200,000 and using more than half of it to keep a bank account minimum at a certain level that gave him a more favorable interest rate on a Manhattan residence that he shares with his wife.
His wife, Lana Zak, who is an anchor for CBS News, has not been charged in the case.
According to prosecutors, Andrew looted various escrow accounts from Democracy Prep in 2019, which was more than two years after he severed ties with the organization. He previously set up those accounts for individual schools within the organization’s network.
He then used those funds to open a business bank account in the name of one of those schools.
Investigators obtained surveillance photos from the bank where he opened the account. It showed Andrew at that particular bank closing one of the escrow accounts for one of the schools in October 2019.
Andrew is being charged with making false statements to a financial institution, money laundering and wire fraud. The announcement was made by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
Those charges carry with them a possible maximum prison sentence of 30 years. If convicted, it’s likely that Andrew would face far less time in jail, according to federal sentencing guidelines.
Audrey Strauss, the U.S. Attorney in the case, said in a statement:
“Seth Andrew abused his position as a founder of a charter school network to steal from the very same schools he helped create. 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.”
After appearing in Manhattan’s U.S. District Court Tuesday, Andrew was released after posting a $500,000 personal recognizance bond, which had three co-signers. One of the conditions of Andrew’s bonds is that he and Zak both must surrender their passports.
Andrew also is only allowed to travel in New York City, to some counties north of the city, to Long Island and to Vermont.
He’s next due to appear in court on May 27.
While Michael Yaeger, Andrew’s defense attorney, didn’t comment much on the matter, he did say that his client “will be entering a plea of not guilty.”
The current CEO of Democracy Prep, Natasha Trivers, confirmed in an email to families in the network, as well as scholars and alumni, that a “series of financial safeguards” that were put in place after she took over in 2019 “led directly to the discovery of Seth’s unauthorized withdrawals.”