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Former EAA principal in Detroit faces sentencing for bribery

Snapp pleaded guilty to accepting nearly $60,000

DETROIT – A former Educational Achievement Authority (EAA) principal faces sentencing Wednesday for her involvement in conspiracy, bribery, and tax evasion. 

Kenyetta Wilbourn Snapp formerly presided over Denby and Mumford high schools in Detroit. Snapp said payoffs are a part of the education culture for struggling schools in Detroit. 

Snapp was sentenced to one year and one day in prison. She also will have to pay back the EAA the money she stole along with paying the IRS some $26,000 for back taxes.

"This began as an incident where I wanted to take my own life... instead it has given me new life and transformed me as a person," Snapp said in court. "I allowed my wisdom to be compromised and my integrity to be corrupted... I am not a bad person but a good person who made a bad choice."

She could have faced three years or more in prison. Snapp cooperated with investigators and received a much shorter sentence. 

Back story of Snapp and Thornton bribery scheme

During August 2012 through November 2014, Snapp enlisted the help of Glynis Thornton, who ran an after-school tutoring service called Making a Difference Everyday, or M.A.D.E.

Snapp was given monetary kickbacks by Thornton for selecting and retaining the M.A.D.E. tutoring program, according to a December 2015 indictment. 

In order to disguise payments, Thornton would write checks payable to an independent contractor for the company, Paulette Horton. Horton would then deposit the checks and hand over the cash to Snapp. 

During this time, Snapp also was charged with tax evasion for not reporting her income during 2012. Horton was also given a charge for failing to file her tax returns during 2011. 

"Investigation demonstrated that Ms. Wilbourn-Snapp and her associates took resources allocated to her by the State of Michigan to educate our children and diverted funds for their own personal gain," FBI Special Agent in Charge David P. Gelios said. "There can be no tolerance for this abuse of authority."

Read: More about Snapp's bribery charges

Snapp pleads guilty to taking bribes

Snapp pleaded guilty to accepting nearly $60,000 from Thornton's company to a federal judge in February 2016.

She admitted she "betrayed the public trust" by committing bribery and money laundering. She also pleaded guilty to the federal tax evasion charges. Under the plea agreement, she will help investigators in their probe of the EAA. 

Thornton also pleaded guilty to conspiracy and admits she was paying bribes to the principal in exchange for her company being able to work.