Ex-Principal Reporting To Prison As Detroit Students Head Back To School

DETROIT (WWJ) – As kids across Detroit head back to school, one former principal is reporting to prison.

Josette Buendia, the former principal at Bennett Elementary, is set to begin a two-year prison sentence on Monday after being convicted in a bribery and kickback scheme.

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this week denied a request from Buendia to remain free while her appeals are heard, ordering her to report to an undisclosed prison on Sept. 11.

Buendia was the only principal to not take a plea in the case, which involved a dozen other principals and one administrator. All totaled, Detroit Public Schools lost $2.7 million in the bribery scheme.

Prosecutors say Buendia accepted more than $45,000 in cash and gift cards from vendor Norman Shy in exchange for business. She also covered up the scheme by submitting bogus invoices for paper and other supplies, according to the government. She was convicted of federal program bribery and conspiracy to commit federal program bribery.

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