FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Orlando, Florida April 30, 2001
Former Bethune-Cookman College Employee Sentenced for Fraud
Orlando, Florida - Today United States District Court Judge Patricia C. Fawcett sentenced King Ade Olowu, a former accountant employed by Bethune-Cookman College in the Fiscal Affairs Office. Mr. Olowu was charged with stealing student financial aid refund checks worth approximately $107,000 from December 1995 to December 1997 from the financial aid office at Bethune-Cookman, then having others cash the checks at banks in the area of Daytona Beach.
The Court sentenced Olovu to fifteen months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, 75 hours of community service in lieu of a fine, and mandatory restitution of $70,143.29.
Evidence presented to the Court demonstrated that Olowu, who graduated from Bethune-Cookman in 1984, had worked for 11 years in the student financial aid office at Bethune-Cookman. Many studlents who received financial aid had left due to graduation, transfer, or dropping out, and they were entitled to a refund of their unused aid. But the school had failed to identify these students and send them their refunds, according to a United States Department of Education audit conducted in 1995. Olowu was assigned the job of getting refund checks out to these students. Instead, he stole many of the checks and handed them off to his confederates, who cashed them at local banks. Olowu paid his confederates $50 to $200 to cash a check, and they paid him the rest. The amounts of the checks listed in the indictment returned against Olowu varied from $586 to $2000.
The case was investigated by the Daytona Beach Police Department, special agents of the United States Department of Education Office of Inspector General, and the United States Secret 5ervice. The case was prosecuted by Bruce S. Ambrose, Assistant United States Attorney in the Orlando Division of the Office of the United States Attorney, Middle District of Florida.