Drexel University Professor Spent $190K in Grant Money on Strip Clubs and Sports Bars

Dr. Chikaodinaka Nwankpa misused $189,062 of government cash over a 10-year period

Drexel University
Drexel University in Philadelphia. (Drexel University/Facebook)
By Carl Caminetti / October 9, 2019 10:16 am

Over a 10-year stretch, a former college professor at a Philadelphia university spent nearly $190,000 in federal grant money while living large at strip clubs and sports bars, according to the Justice Department.

While working at Drexel University, Dr. Chikaodinaka Nwankpa misused $189,062 of government grant money and spent it on things like purchases on iTunes and “goods and services” provided by Cheerleaders, Club Risque, and Tacony Club.

The head of Drexel’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Nwankpa then improperly charged his purchases to eight federal grants that had been given for energy and naval technology-related research.

The government began investigating Nwankpa after Drexel disclosed what he was doing. Following the investigation, Nwankpa resigned his position and repaid $53,328 to Drexel.

“This is an example of flagrant and audacious fraud, and a shameful misuse of public funds,” said United States attorney William McSwain. “The agencies providing these grant funds expect them to be used towards advancements in energy and naval technology for public benefit, not for personal entertainment.”

To resolve potential liability issues under the False Claims Act, Drexel University has agreed to pay the $189,062 back to the U.S. government.

“Fraud is never a victimless crime,” said NCIS Northeast Field Office special agent in charge Leo Lamont. “In this case, the flagrant and wrongful misuse of American taxpayers’ funds not only eroded the public trust, but jeopardized the Department of Navy’s efforts to obtain the best technology and research for our brave men and women in uniform.”

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