Cindy Tappe lost her position at Yale University after pleading not guilty to all four charges.
Yash Roy & Evan Gorelik
Hedy Tung, Staff Photographer
Yale School of Medicine administrator Cindy Tappe was fired December 22 for allegedly embezzling $3.5 million from New York state grants. .
Tappe was indicted by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office on December 19. She was accused of stealing money from a $23 million grant (designed specifically to boost minority- and women-owned businesses) when she was an administrator at New York University. Tappe left school after NYU leadership confronted her in 2018, according to NYU spokesperson John Beckman, who was hired by Yale in 2019 and fired. Until then, I was working as the administrative director of the medical school.
The university first put Tappe on leave following her indictment before finally terminating her employment.
“Our multilingual learners and students with disabilities should receive first-class services, and these funds should have been paid directly to their schools,” wrote Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. . statement“…this $3.5 million scam also harmed minority and women-owned businesses in our city by denying them the opportunity to compete fairly for and secure funds.”
The court charged Tappe with one count of first-degree money laundering, one count of second-degree grand theft, two counts of first-degree filing of false documents, and two counts of first-degree falsification of business records. Tappe has pleaded not guilty to all four counts of her charges, and her attorney did not respond to a request for comment.
The indictment follows a four-year New York State Comptroller’s investigation into Tuppe’s embezzlement allegations while he was NYU’s director of finance and administration. Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and School Transformationalso known as Metro Center.
Beckman said the New York State investigation began in 2018 after NYU implemented a new electronic payment system and detected “suspicious activity” from Tappe. NYU reported the theft to state departments of education and inspectors after an internal audit.
“We are deeply disappointed that our employees have misused our trust in this way, and we are happy to help stop this misdirection of taxpayer money,” Beckman said. wrote in the news.
According to university spokesperson Karen Peart, when Tappe was hired, “like all Yale employees, she underwent a pre-employment screening, which included references and backgrounds. includes checking for
The grant that Tappe allegedly embezzled was intended to go to a New York State Department of Education program. administered by NYU. The program — Regional Bilingual Educational Resource Network and Technical Assistance Center for Inequality — was designed to increase access to education for minorities and people with disabilities.
As part of the grant, NYU will pay subcontractors to receive and use grant funds. NYU agreed to the state’s requirement that a percentage of its subcontractors be Minority and Women Owned Businesses (MWBEs).
The DA’s office claims that Tappe arranged for three subcontractors. NYU paid about $3.5 million to these three companies, but none of them completed the deal. Instead, the three companies will cover 3-6% of his overhead, leaving the rest of his $3.25 million to “two fictional shell companies” created by Tappe, Hygalaxy Inc. and his PCM Group Inc. passed to . payment.
The attorney’s office also alleges that Tappe used two paper companies to steal at least $660,000 for home renovations, including a “new $80,000 pool” at his Westport home.
In 2018, NYU’s program director confronted Tappe over subcontractor payments. Tappe then emailed the heads of both educational programs, describing the work done by MWBE’s subcontractors, and saying “Falsley” said no other company could provide the same service, according to the General Accounting Office. claimed no.
According to Stephen Duke, professor emeritus at Yale Law School, in situations like this, states try to get their money back without using prosecution first. If the state cannot get the money back without prosecution, an indictment will be made to force the return of the funds.
“Once indicted, refunds of lost money rarely result in the dismissal of charges unless the defense can prove that the charges are false or extremely weak,” Duke wrote in News. “The state will probably insist on a petition to lower the fees.”
NYU was founded in 1831.