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Press Release

Former University Administrative Assistant Pleads Guilty to Embezzling Over $300,000 from Emory

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Georgia

ATLANTA - Brenda Michael, who embezzled more than $300,000 from Emory University by using a fake PayPal account, has pleaded guilty to wire fraud.

“Michael brazenly abused her position with Emory University by misdirecting student payments to a personal account for more than a year,” said Acting U. S. Attorney John Horn.  “Those funds were owed to the school, paid by students working on their college education.” 

According to Acting U.S. Attorney Horn, the charges and other information presented in court: Brenda Michael was employed as an administrative assistant with Emory University from 2007 through 2014. From 2012 to 2014, while enrolling students for certain classes and programs, she began directing students to make tuition and fee payments which were due to Emory University to a PayPal account. Unbeknownst to the students, the PayPal account where they sent funds was the defendant’s own personal account. She then spent the funds on personal expenses. In total, she fraudulently received more than $317,000 from her scheme. 

Sentencing for Michael, 53, of Atlanta, Georgia, is scheduled for July 8th, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. before United States District Judge Willis B. Hunt.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Emory University has fully cooperated in this investigation.

Assistant United States Attorney Jamie L. Mickelson is prosecuting the case.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the home page for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division is

Updated May 1, 2015

Financial Fraud