New York

Former Top CUNY Official Accused of Embezzling Thousands From School Tuition Funds

A former top administrator at the City University of New York's School of Professional Services is accused of embezzling tens of thousands of dollars from the university's tuition fund and funneling them into secret bank accounts.

Police have arrested Carmine Marino, of Los Angeles, California, New York State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott announced Friday. The 43-year-old faces charges of embezzlement, misappropriation from a program receving federal funds and bank fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.

Scott said the arrest underscores the university's consistent lack of oversight of the school system.

"The CUNY schools and affiliated foundations are entrusted with close to $1 billion meant for the benefit of the school's educational mission and its students," she said. "I will continue to work with current CUNY leadership and use all of the resources of my office to restore the trust among the students and taxpayers at large and to protect the integrity of the institution."

Marino served as manager of fiscal operations and director of fiscal and business operations at the School of Professional services from 2007 to 2012, where he presided over the school's bank accounts, officials said.

An investigation determined that during his five-year tenure at CUNY SPS, Marino surreptitiously set up unauthorized bank accounts in the school's name and funded them using money from several others, including its tuition account, according to officials. He then used the secret accounts to embezzle tens of thousands of dollars for personal use.

He was placed on administrative leave, then resigned from CUNY in 2013.

A spokesperson for CUNY said Marino lost his job after the school discovered foul play and brought internal charges against the former administrator. The university reported the misconduct to the authorities after administrators discovered an additional secret account during an audit.

"We have been cooperating fully with the United States Attorney's office, the New York State Inspector General and the Department of Education," the university said. "When misconduct was first discovered by CUNY, the University brought internal charges that resulted in Mr. Marino losing his position in 2013 and being barred from any future employment with CUNY. When an additional improper account was discovered in an audit the information was referred to law enforcement."

The inspector general is calling on CUNY's Board of Trustees to highlight problem areas for the school system to remedy, including spending issues and the high paychecks of campus presidents.

Last October, City College President Lisa Coico resigned after becoming embroiled in a personal expenses scandal. The former CCNY president's administration is being investigated over the handling of over $150,000 of her personal expenses.

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