Detroit Students Lose Out Again: Tutoring Scam Costs DPS Millions (Video)

Students in Detroit Public Schools really can’t catch a break. In addition to the deplorable conditions of the district’s schools, they also have to contend with school officials constantly ripping them off.

Remember Norman Shy? The school supply vendor for DPS that billed the school system for $5 million dollars, $2.7 million of which was determined to be for illegitimate charges? The man was able to build a custom mansion with the money that should have been used to fund the education of Detroit’s children.

Shouldn’t someone have reported this? Yes, but unfortunately at least 12 principals and one school administrator were too busy lining their own pockets with $908,500 worth of bribes and kickbacks to speak up.

New allegations have emerged regarding Detroit schools being bilked out of an additional nearly $1.3 million by yet another opportunist. Carolyn StarkeyDarden, 69, is accused of running a scam between 2005 and 2012 where she submitted false invoices for tutoring services.

StarkeyDarden opened her tutoring companies after having served as the DPS system’s grant-development director. Charges filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Michigan’s Eastern District accuse her of falsifying attendance records so she could charge the district for services which never occurred.

Online records indicated that when one student attended a single online tutoring session, StarkeyDarden altered the records and billed for 18 students attending 3 sessions. When one of her workers sent an email to inquire about attendance inconsistencies, StarkeyDarden admitted that she was the one who’d made the changes.


Detroit FBI special agent in charge, David P. Gelios said that ultimately it is the 47,000 students in Detroit Public Schools who have suffered the most from StarkeyDarden’s greed:

“Ms. StarkeyDarden cheated the students of Detroit Public Schools out of valuable resources by fraudulently billing for her company’s services. In fact, Detroit students were cheated twice by this scheme. Students that needed tutoring never received it, and money that could have been spent on other resources was paid to Ms. StarkeyDarden as part of her fraud scheme.”

If convicted StarkeyDarden could receive up to 10 years in prison and face fines of up to $250,000. Small consolation to a school district with $500 million in operating debt.

Featured image by Getty/Bill Pugliano