The President of Howard University announced Wednesday that six employees were fired following allegations that they misappropriated financial aid funds in a decade-long scam.
In a statement, Wayne Frederick said he learned in December 2016 of the misappropriation of university-provided financial aid funds. Officials launched an internal investigation, which concluded in May 2017.
“The investigation found that from 2007 to 2016, University grants were given to some University employees who also received tuition remission. The audit revealed that the combination of University grants and tuition remission exceeded the total cost of attendance,” Frederick said, adding that all money was from the school and not from federal or donor-directed funds.
“An investigation of individual employee actions was completed in September 2017 and as a result, six employees have been fired for gross misconduct and neglect of duties. We will refer this matter for criminal prosecution, as appropriate.”
Despite the recent revelation, school officials—specifically Frederick—have come under scrutiny for not disclosing this information sooner. Days before the school announcement, a whistleblower posted a since-deleted article to Medium alleging that $1 million in financial aid was diverted from 2013 to 2017, according to Yahoo News. It’s worth noting that Frederick has not confirmed how much money was involved in the drawn-out scheme.
Officials have not revealed the identities of the fired employees. The Medium post called attention to Tyrone Hankerson Jr., an ex-student employee currently enrolled in the university’s law school graduate program who’s now accused of stealing as much as $429,612 in the form of grants and scholarships in a four-year period, Yahoo News wrote.
ABC News has received the following statement on behalf of Tyrone Hankerson Jr. pic.twitter.com/hIA8uaIlG3
— Anastasia (@AnastasiaElyseW) March 28, 2018
Images allegedly retrieved from Hankerson’s social media accounts appear to show the law school student living a lavish life full of vacations and designer clothes, including a large fur coat. Many suspected that Hankerson’s lifestyle was financed by the funds he misappropriated while working for the university’s financial aid office.
Hankerson has since denied the allegations, telling ABC that his privacy was violated when his financial aid information was posted on social media.
“Please know that I’ve done nothing illegal or wrong,” he wrote, adding that any scholarships or awards bestowed upon him were approved by financial aid officers.
“Please also know that I would never do anything to hurt an institution I love so much or the thousands of students who are a part of the Howard University family that I had the privilege to serve during my undergraduate experience at Howard.”
Tyrone was living his best lives with our financial aid pic.twitter.com/7GLTqC5NSU
— Jae’Challa (@BLOWthisJAE_) March 28, 2018
[Featured Image: Tyrone Hankerson/Instagram, Facebook]