Charter school CEO sentenced in $90,000 embezzlement
The former head of Philadelphia charter school was sentenced today to three years in prison for enriching himself by diverting nearly $90,000 in student scholarship money and other school funds to his personal accounts.
Masai Skief, 32, was the chief executive officer of the Harambee Institute of Science in West Philadelphia. He also served as chief administrator of the Harambee Institute Inc., a related non-profit organization, that provides children with vocational training. Skief pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud in August 2013, but even after agreeing to the plea, he allegedly continued to steal $12.000 from the Harambee Institute.
According to prosecutors, Skief concocted a scheme to raid the bank accounts of both institutions. Skief diverted $9,000 from the school’s scholarship fund in order to buy a house for himself. Later, Skief used a series of improper cash withdrawals to drain the Institute’s account of an additional $79,000. He then tried to cover up the diversions by attempting to disguise the withdrawals as labor costs. There were no such labor costs, prosecutors said. He also asked others to lie to federal agents as part of the cover up.