Former Detroit Public Schools director of grant development charged with fraud

Carolyn StarkeyDarden took $1.2 million from district through fraud scheme

DETROIT – A former Detroit Public Schools director is accused of getting $1.2 million from the district through a scheme in which she submitted fraudulent invoices for tutorial services that were never given to students. 

According to the charging document, Carolyn StarkeyDarden, 69, of Detroit, took the money between 2005 and 2012. As a grant director, she was in charge of establishing supplemental educational services to eligible students.

(Read the full charging document below)

“Ms. Starkey-Darden cheated the students of Detroit Public Schools out of valuable resources by fraudulently billing for her company’s services,” said David P. Gelios, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Detroit Division. “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. Starkey-Darden
as part of her fraud scheme.”

If convicted, StarkeyDarden faces up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 on the charge of federal program theft. 

ReadDetroit schools plagued by mismanagement, student losses 

DPS Transition Manager Judge Steven Rhodes:

Detroit Public Schools was advised this morning by U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade of charges being filed against Carolyn StarkeyDarden, a former DPS employee and subsequent vendor to the District. The alleged thievery perpetrated by this individual from 2005-2012 is inexcusable and represents a clear violation of the public trust that has robbed our students and staff of more than $1.2 million in resources that should have been used for instruction in our classrooms.

Everyone invested in the future of Detroit Public Schools should be outraged by the unlawful actions allegedly committed by this individual.

I will continue to work with U.S. Attorney McQuade, recently reinstated DPS Inspector General Bernadette Kakooza, and the dedicated, responsible and ethical employees of this school system to uncover this unacceptable behavior and bring the full force of the law against those who have the audacity to steal from our children. We will also continue to cooperate with law enforcement on all investigations.

The District will remain vigilant in the review and application of its procurement policies and procedures, and make changes as appropriate and necessary as it did recently, to help prevent further fraud. Anyone who has a concern about potential fraud or criminal activity in DPS should immediately contact the District’s Fraud Prevention Hotline at (313) 870-3436.


Fraud Complaint Against Carolyn StarkeyDarden