Chika Nwankpa former Drexel professor charged after blowing through $190K of federal grant money for personal uses, including $96K spent on strip clubs and sports bars.
He just couldn’t resist one more lap dance. A former Drexel University professor was arrested Monday for allegedly going through nearly $200,000 in federal grant money on strip clubs and other expenses, prosecutors said.
Chika Nwankpa, 57, the former head of the electrical engineering department, admitted to misusing the funds when confronted by officials at the Philadelphia university last year.
Nearly half of the money, $96,000, went toward adult entertainment and bar tabs, prosecutors said.
Another $89,00 was spent on personal items including food and iTunes purchases.
Nwankpa allegedly looted the grant money from the Navy, the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation, spending it over the course of seven years beginning in 2010, prosecutors said.
‘Mr. Nwankpa inappropriately and criminally diverted tens of thousands of dollars that were allocated for research purposes toward his own private enjoyment. He betrayed Drexel University and tuition-paying students he was paid to educate,’ said District Attorney Larry Krasner.
63% of illicitly used funds were processed between the hours of midnight and 2 a.m:
According to the district attorney’s office, 48% of the 114 separate charges were done on weekends and 63% were processed between the hours of midnight and 2 a.m.
Drexel University had announced last October that it discovered the alleged fraud in 2017 during an internal audit and alerted the government. At the time, Drexel University settled with federal prosecutors for $190,000 to avoid a potential civil lawsuit from the Justice Department, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Around that time, when Nwankpa was confronted with the improper spending, he resigned and agreed to pay $55,328 for the bill. He was also barred from federal contracting for six months.
The academic’s resignation followed Nwankpa having taught at Drexel for 27 years until his 2017 resignation.
An online profile for Nwankpa described him as self-employed as an engineering consultant.
Nwankpa upon his arrest on Monday was charged with theft by unlawful taking and theft by deception, and freed on $25,000 bail. If found guilty on both counts, the former academic could face up to 14 years in prison abc11 reports.
Media overtures for comment have not been returned.