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Justice News

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

Friday, February 5, 2016

Former EAA Principal and Vendor Plead Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Bribery

Kenyetta Wilbourn Snapp, 40, a former Educational Achievement Authority (“EAA”) principal of Denby High School and later of Mumford High School, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit federal program bribery and federal income tax evasion charges, United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced. Glynis Thornton, 53, an after-school tutoring vendor, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit federal program bribery.

Joining McQuade in the announcement were David P. Gelios, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Jarod J. Koopman, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation.

Snapp admitted to selecting Thornton’s company, Making a Difference Everyday (“M.A.D.E.”), as the after-school tutoring vendor for Denby High School and then Mumford High School. In exchange, Thornton paid Snapp monetary kickbacks totaling approximately $58,000, as a reward for Snapp selecting and retaining M.A.D.E. as the after-school tutoring vendor. Thornton admitted that she disguised payments to Snapp by causing checks to be issued payable to a M.A.D.E. employee’s company, rather than paying Snapp directly. The M.A.D.E. employee would then deposit and withdraw the money and give it to Snapp. Snapp also admitted to failing to report the kickback payments as income during taxable year 2012.

Snapp entered into a plea agreement that calls for a sentence of between 37-46 months in custody. Thornton entered into a plea agreement that calls for a sentence of between 24-30 months in custody.

"Public corruption crimes are always disappointing, but it is even more heartbreaking when a school principal takes bribes," McQuade said. "Squandering school funds in exchange for bribes is especially disturbing in this case because Detroit's school children already face so many financial challenges." McQuade said.

"Ms. Snapp and Ms. Thornton's efforts to divert funds from the struggling Detroit Public School District and students trying to better themselves is particularly disturbing," said David P. Gelios, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Detroit Division. "These convictions represent the commitment of the FBI and our partners to expose and shut down schemes that would rob our communities of the education and services that they count on and deserve."

IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge Koopman stated, "When public officials commit crimes, whether as part of their official duties or in their private lives, they are violating the trust of the people they serve. IRS-CI will continue to hold them accountable for their actions".

This case was investigated by agents of the FBI and IRS-CI. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys J. Michael Buckley and Frances Carlson.

Public Corruption
Updated February 5, 2016