A former education advisor to the Obama Administration pleaded guilty to wire fraud on Friday due to his involvement in a plot to embezzle at least $218,000 from a group of charter schools in New York City.
In federal court, Seth Andrew, 43, admitted to concocting a scheme to steal funding from a network of schools that he helped to create. US Attorney Damian Williams said that Andrew is now facing a federal prison sentence for abusing his official position and conspiring to steal funding from students he promised to help. The maximum sentence Andrew faces is 20 years, and his sentencing hearing has been scheduled for April 14.
Andrew was arrested and charged in April 2021 with misappropriation of funds intended for the Democracy Prep charter school he helped to create. The plot was allegedly designed to secure low-interest bank financing on a Manhattan apartment worth millions in 2019.
Andrew founded Democracy Prep in 2005 and split from the school network years before his arrest. He committed fraud by removing funds from accounts owned by the school network and placing them into a statement that he owned and controlled to apply for the mortgage loan on the apartment he eventually purchased with his spouse.
Andrew had been charged with counts of wire fraud, money laundering, and making fraudulent statements to a bank to obtain funds. He had been free on a $500,000 bond since his initial court appearance on the charges.
The Democracy Prep network included several schools for underprivileged students in Harlem.
Andrew worked with the Department of Education before taking a position in 2013 with the Obama Administration as a senior advisor working in the Office of Educational Technology. He worked until the end of Obama’s second term. After that, Andrew worked as Global Director of Policy & Partnerships at Bridge International Academies.