Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Feds: New $1.3M tutoring scam uncovered at Detroit schools

Feds: New $1.3M tutoring scam uncovered at Detroit schools:

Feds: New $1.3M tutoring scam uncovered at Detroit schools

Another corruption case has surfaced for the troubled Detroit Public Schools, this one involving a former grants administrator who is charged with pocketing nearly $1.3 million that was supposed to be used for tutoring services for kids.
Carolyn Starkey-Darden, 69, the former director of grant development at DPS, is charged by federal prosecutors with billing DPS $1.275 million over seven years for never-delivered tutoring services through companies she created. She did this, court records show, by submitting phony documents to the district that included doctored test scores, forged attendance records and parental signatures and fake individual learning plans -- all of which went on forms that were required by DPS before payment could be made.
To bolster this claim, federal investigators cited some of Starkey-Darden's emails, which are included in court documents. "I put in some fake scores for a few kids at Denby, just to get their plans approved. When and if we get real ones ... just replace what I put in," Starkey-Darden wrote in a 2008 email to an employee at a tutoring firm owned by her husband.
So far, the government has seized nearly $1-million from Starkey-Darden.
"Detroit students were cheated twice by this scheme. Students that needed tutoring never received it, and money that could have been spent on other resources was paid to Ms. Starkey-Darden as part of her fraud scheme,”  Detroit's FBI chief David Gelios said.
The criminal charges against Starkey-Darden come two months after 14 individuals, including 12 DPS principals, were charged with helping a vendor bill DPS $2.7 million for school supplies that were rarely delivered in exchange for kickbacks.
According to the U.S. Attorney's office, Starkey-Darden, a 38-year employee with DPS, ran her scheme between 2005 and 2012 through several companies she created. One of them was Grants 'N Such, an educational consulting firm for public or private schools.  Court documents show that Darden formed Grants 'N Such on July 20, 2005 -- three months before she retired -- but  she continued to do business with DPS through five companies with the help of her husband and daughter --  neither of whom have been charged.
Darden's lawyer, Gerald Evelyn, was not available for comment.
DPS Transition Manager Steven Rhodes, a former federal judge who oversaw Detroit's historic bankruptcy, expressed frustration with the new charges.
"The alleged thievery perpetrated by this individual is inexcusable and represents a clear violation of the public trust that has robbed our students and staff of nearly $1.8 million in resources that should have been used for instruction in our classrooms," Rhodes said. "Everyone invested in the future of Detroit Public Schools should be outraged by the unlawful actions allegedly committed by this individual."

Rhodes said he would continue working with the U.S Attorney's office and Feds: New $1.3M tutoring scam uncovered at Detroit schools:

Big Education Ape: SES IS A MESS: 
 Tutor center scammed $2M in federal funds |  http://bit.ly/1L714f6

Latest News and Comment from Education