Feds: Saint Joseph's University athlete stole to pay tuition

A former Saint Joseph’s University athlete is facing federal charges for allegedly stealing from a college employee’s bank account to pay his tuition.

Federal prosecutors on Wednesday charged Jorry Senestant, 22, with unauthorized access to a computer in furtherance of committing wire fraud, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Zane Memeger announced.

Senestant majored in computer science and was a member of the men’s track and field team at St. Joe's, according to the university’s athletics website.

On Nov. 23, 2013, Senestant allegedly gained unauthorized access to a computer file containing the employee account of a college worker, including the worker’s bank account and routing numbers.

Prosecutors said Senestant used the stolen information to cause $13,000 to be transferred from the employee’s bank account to Senestant’s university account.

Senestant planned to use the money to pay his tuition for the next term, according to the charges. When the allegations came to light, he was not permitted to return for the spring 2014 semester, his defense attorney Jonathan Sobel said.

Senestant will plead guilty to the charge during a hearing July 15, according to Sobel.

“He's acknowledged that he’s made a terrible mistake and is accepting responsibility for that,” Sobel said Thursday. “He wants to have the matter resolved as quickly and as painlessly as possible and not to have to put the government through any other unneeded hoops to resolve it.”

The charge against Senestant carries a maximum possible penalty of five years in prison, three years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine and restitution, prosecutors said.

Saint Joseph’s University officials did not immediately return a request for comment Thursday evening. Prosecutors said the university cooperated with the investigation, which was overseen by the FBI.

Contact Alex Wigglesworth at 215-854-2305 or awigglesworth@philly.com. Follow @phila_lex on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443; BreakingNewsDesk@philly.com. Follow @phillynews on Twitter.