Philadelphia professor accused of spending $185K in federal grants on strip clubs, iTunes

Philadelphia professor accused of spending $185K in federal grants on strip clubs, iTunes
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A former Drexel University professor who allegedly misused $185,000 in federal grant funds on strip clubs and other personal expenses has been charged with theft.

Prosecutors say Chika Nwankpa, 57, used $96,000 in federal grants at adult entertainment venues and sports bars between 2010 and 2017, ABC News reported this week. Additionally, he allegedly spent $89,000 on iTunes purchases and meals.

The former head of Drexel's electrical engineering department misappropriated grants from the Navy, the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation over the last 10 years, according to prosecutors.

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"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 Philadelphia district attorney Larry Krasner.

Reports from the district attorney's office show 48 percent of some 114 separate fraudulent transactions Nwankpa made were on weekends, and 63 percent were processed between the hours of midnight and 2 a.m.

Drexel University said in October that it found the alleged fraud in a 2017 internal audit and informed the government. Authorities said Nwankpa paid back $53,328, resigned from Drexel and was suspended from any federal contracting for six months.

Nwankpa posted a bail of $25,000 after his arrest on Monday. He was charged with theft by unlawful taking and theft by deception. He could face up to 14 years in prison if convicted on both counts.