Former Obama White House Aide Seth Andrew Sentenced For School Theft

A plot to embezzle $218,000 from a New York charter school network that Former Obama White House Aide Seth Andrew created landed him a year and a day in federal prison on Thursday. On the day of his sentencing in Manhattan’s US District Court, Andrew was also ordered to pay $5,000 in restitution. According to prosecutors, he had already paid Democracy Prep Public Schools $218,005 in restitution and forfeiture before Thursday’s hearing.

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The charges against him include wire fraud, money laundering, and making false claims to a financial institution, all of which were brought against him in April 2021. He pleaded guilty to wire fraud in January. John Cronan, the judge who sentenced Andrew to 366 days in prison, granted him a lenient sentence. If Cronan condemned him, just one day less or an entire year would have been enough time for Andrew to serve.

Although his sentence was increased, Andrew will only serve 85 percent of his term, or a little more than 10 months, because of the so-called good time credit he will earn. Asked in court by Cronan, “I wish every day that I had not done this,” Andrew said. “Feelings of guilt and shame always haunt me. “I don’t hold the victim responsible.” “I hope future kids can learn from my mistakes and true accountability,” he stated. We can be confident that nothing like this will ever happen again,” the judge said. Please accept my sincere apologies, and I ask that you pardon me.”

Former Obama White House Aide Seth Andrew Sentenced
Former Obama White House Aide Seth Andrew Sentenced

Democracy Prep Public Schools was formed in 2005 by Andrew, the husband of CBS News presenter Lana Zak. As far as Andrew’s case was concerned, Zak was never accused of any misconduct. More than two years after splitting with Democracy Prep, prosecutors claim that the former CEO of the charter school network siphoned off money from the escrow accounts of each school in the network.

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After that, Andrew used over half of the money to keep a certain amount in a bank account, which allowed him and Zak to get a better interest rate on their $2 million Manhattan home mortgage, as the prosecution had previously claimed. “Seth Andrew was sentenced today for stealing from folks who previously trusted him,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement Thursday.

In an attempt to penalize non-profit charter schools for rejecting his invitation to return as their leader, Andrew committed this crime,” Williams stated. “It is fortunate that the victim of Andrew’s crime was able to recover and carry out its essential work. According to today’s sentencing, there will be penalties for individuals who commit fraud or steal from others. “

“Seth never received a mortgage benefit from these monies and never put them into any personal account,” a spokeswoman for Andrew said in a statement on Thursday. According to the spokesperson, Andrew was never motivated by greed, and the money he took out of DPPS accounts was intended to hurt the organization. Spokesman: “His entire career is a denial of their baseless claim,” he stated.

“Seth transferred funds from the dissolution escrow account that were at risk of being misplaced since they were dormant. “Seth never contested that he transferred these cash to another non-profit,” the spokeswoman stated. To reopen the college, another non-profit organization purchased a defunct Vermont college. “We are pleased this sad chapter is finally finished and applaud the US Attorney and FBI for their hard work on the matter,” Democracy Prep stated.

“A tragic betrayal of all that we stand for,” the CEO of Democracy Prep said when Andrew was arrested last year. She also said that after she took up her role in 2019, “several financial measures” were implemented, “leading immediately to the discovery of Seth’s illicit withdrawals.” As a result, the network alerted the appropriate authorities of his antics.

After President Barack Obama began his second term in office, Andrew accepted a position at the Department of Education in the United States. As a result of his work, he became a senior counselor in the White House’s Office of Educational Technology. While serving in the Obama administration, Andrew still received a salary from Democracy Prep, but he cut all links with the network in January 2017.