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Press Release

Former Detroit Public Schools Director of Grant Development Pleads Guilty to Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Michigan

The former Detroit Public Schools Director of Grant Development pleaded guilty today to 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.

Pleading guilty today before United States District Judge Stephen J. Murphy was Carolyn StarkeyDarden, 69, of Detroit. 

According to court records between 2005 and 2012, Carolyn StarkeyDarden, 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 know that most school officials and teachers are honest, but we hope to deter fraud by holding accountable those who steal funds from our school children.  It makes a difference when those who are tempted by greed know that someone is watching and there is a price to be paid.”

“Today’s guilty plea represents another step towards holding Ms. Starkey-Darden responsible for cheating Detroit Public Schools students out of valuable resources by fraudulently billing for her company’s services,” said David P. Gelios, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Detroit Division.  “The message should be clear:  Public funds allocated to educate our children must be utilized as intended.  To those that would do otherwise, you will be held to account.”  

StarkeyDarden faces up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 on the charge of Federal Program Theft.  Sentencing has been set for October 28, 2016 at 10 am..

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.


Updated June 29, 2016