DETROIT (WWJ) – A former Detroit Public Schools administrator faces federal charges after ripping off the district to the tune of $1.2 million.
In announcing the charges on Monday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said 69-year-old Carolyn Starkey-Darden — who worked as DPS Director of Grant Development and later a vendor — was paid approximately $1.2 million between 2005 and 2012 after submitting fraudulent invoices for tutorial services that were never rendered to DPS students.
The FBI in 2014 seized multiple bank accounts belonging to Starkey-Darden and her husband, Anthony Darden, after launching an investigation in 2011 into their tutoring businesses.
She now faces up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 on a charge of Federal Program Theft.
“Everyone invested in the future of Detroit Public Schools should be outraged by the unlawful actions allegedly committed by this individual,” said DPS Transition Manager Judge Steven Rhodes, in a statement out Monday afternoon.
“I will continue to work with U.S. Attorney McQuade, recently reinstated DPS Inspector General Bernadette Kakooza, and the dedicated, responsible and ethical employees of this school system to uncover this unacceptable behavior and bring the full force of the law against those who have the audacity to steal from our children. We will also continue to cooperate with law enforcement on all investigations.”
Monday’s announcement comes on the heels of charges against former DPS school supply vendor Norman Shy, of Franklin, who has pleaded guilty to paying nearly $1 million in kickbacks to 12 DPS principals and an administrator.
“The District will remain vigilant in the review and application of its procurement policies and procedures, and make changes as appropriate and necessary as it did recently, to help prevent further fraud,” Rhodes said.
Anyone who has a concern about potential fraud or criminal activity in DPS should immediately contact the District’s Fraud Prevention Hotline at 313-870-3436.