Florida Principal Makes Big Mistake: Loses $100,000 To Elon Musk Impersonator
Dr. Jan McGee, the much-lauded principal of Burns Science and Technology Charter School in Oak Hill, Florida, has resigned from her post after it was discovered she was taken in by a fraudulent email scam involving a person pretending to be Elon Musk.
“I am a very smart lady. Well-educated. I fell for a scam,” McGee said.
McGee had believed she had been in correspondence with the world-famous innovator and entrepreneur for four months, hoping that Musk could be convinced to become involved in the charter school and contribute funds for the institution.
“Grooming is when you talk to somebody and you believe in them, and they get you to trust them that this is really real, and so I fell for it,” McGee said.
Unbeknownst to McGee, the person she was conversing with online was an impostor, who eventually talked her into writing a check for $100,000. Upon learning that McGee had fallen victim to the fraud, Burns Science and Technology school board members demanded her immediate resignation.
"Matching funds with this guy and he was supposed to give like $6 million to the school," Amalfitano said.
"Somehow she believed it,” board chair Albert Amalfitano said. “He must have been really convincing.”
Despite her blunder, Dr. McGee had made Burns Science and Technology a hugely successful charter school, with an A rating and nearly 1,000 students on a huge waiting list.
Community members, who had benefited from the school's exemplary reputation, lamented the untimely demise of McGee's promising career in education.
Fortunately, the school's business manager, Brent Appy, got wind and was able to stop the check before it was cleared.
The Board Meeting
At the board meeting held to address the issue, McGee issued an apology to the board and the community, but other issues came to light such as the toxic work environment McGee was responsible for.
I put myself into this position and into this mess and I made a bad decision, McGee said.
The Final Decision
The deciding factor came when three other administrators stepped forward and said that they would resign if McGee remained. With no other outcome in sight, McGee chose to resign along with her husband, who was also a teacher at the school.
“When you lose the respect of… When your leadership is now in question, you can't properly lead and that's going to cause chaos,” Amalfitano said.
In response, the board chair declared that the board will be taking on a number of steps to ensure that the situation doesn’t happen again. They will begin a national search for a new principal and hire an outside investigator to conduct an in-depth review of all that transpired as well as bring in an outside auditing firm for a full audit of the school’s accounts.
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