Embezzlement accusation at St. John's University, Queens, NYC

by Tom Gallagher

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The New York Post reports this afternoon that a Saint John's University fundraiser "embezzled more than $1 million from the Queens school, spending the stolen lucre on casinos sprees, shopping at Victoria’s Secret and funding her son’s tuition at St. John’s Law School."

The report goes on:

Cecilia Chang, 57, worked at St. John’s for more than 20 years, wooing potential donors in the Far East to give money to the university, Queens DA Richard Brown said.

Chang, a university vice president for international relations and dean of the Center for Asian Studies was caught after a 2009 internal audit reveal discrepancies in her expense account, Brown said.

Among the alleged scams was her creation of the nonprofit Global Development Initiative Foundation, which she represented to be part of the university, but instead was controlled solely by Chang.

She allegedly misled a Saudi prince to give the Foundation more than $500,000, indicating to him that it was part of the school.

Chang, who had the power to bestow scholarships, granted her son Steven a free ride at the university’s law school, but was forced to repay the money when officials overruled her, Brown said.

But she charged the tuition to her credit card and submitted it for repayments as travel and entertainment expenses, Brown said.

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