Thursday, September 16, 2010

Former Fundraiser For St. John's University In New York Charged With Embezzling More Than $1 Million

Cecilia Chang, 57, of Jamaica Estates, New York, has been charged with embezzling more than $1 million from St. John's University where she had been employed as vice president for international relations and dean of the Center for Asian Studies, responsible for fundraising from Asian donors. According to prosecutors, Chang created a non-profit entity, Global Development Initiative Foundation which she represented to potential donors was part of the university but in fact she controlled solely. She then solicited funds, including a $500,000 donation from a Saudi prince, which she used to pay for her own benefit, including gambling junkets. Chang also allegedly made improper expense reimbursements from credit card charges that included her son's law school tuition at the university and other personal expenses. Chang was indicted on 205 counts including grand larceny, forgery, criminal possession of a forged instrument and falsifying business records. Chang had been employed by the university for 30 years before she was fired last January. The scheme spanned a number of years.

Read the story here and here.

Update (9/30/10): An article published in the New York Times alleges that Chang, in addition to embezzling some $1 million from St. John's University, forced students to clean, cook and act as her personal servants to keep their scholarships.

Read the updated story here.

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