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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Michigan

Monday, May 23, 2016

Former Detroit Public Schools Director of Grant Development Charged with Fraud

Criminal charges were filed today against Carolyn StarkeyDarden, a former Detroit Public Schools Director of Grant Development, alleging federal program fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade.                       

Joining McQuade in the announcement were David P. Gelios, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The charging document, known as a criminal information, charges that between 2005 and 2012, Carolyn StarkeyDarden, 69, of Detroit, as president and/or agent of companies she established to provide supplemental educational services to eligible students in Michigan, obtained at least $1,275,000 from DPS through a scheme in which she submitted fraudulent invoices for payment to DPS for tutorial services that were never rendered to DPS students.

United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade said, “We hope that our work to uncover fraud in public school systems will deter others from stealing funds intended to educate children.”

“Ms. StarkeyDarden cheated the students of Detroit Public Schools out of valuable resources by fraudulently billing for her company’s services,” said David P. Gelios, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Detroit Division.  “In fact, Detroit students were cheated twice by this scheme.  Students that needed tutoring never received it, and money that could have been spent on other resources was paid to Ms. StarkeyDarden as part of her fraud scheme.”

StarkeyDarden faces up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 on the charge of Federal Program Theft.

This case was investigated by agents of the FBI.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison.

The FBI Detroit Area Corruption Task Force (DACTF) is led by the FBI Detroit Field Office, and consists of Special Agents and law enforcement officers with the FBI Detroit; the Detroit Police Department; the Michigan State Police; the Michigan Attorney General’s Office; the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division; the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development–Office of Inspector General; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency–Office of Inspector General; the U.S. Department of Transportation–Office of Inspector General; the U.S. Department of Homeland Security–Office of Inspector General; the U.S. Department of Education–Office of Inspector General; and the U.S. Department of Labor–Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations.

A Criminal Information is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated May 23, 2016