U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of Michigan
(313) 226-9100
December 10, 2015

Former EAA Principal and Vendor Indicted on Conspiracy and Bribery Charges

An indictment was unsealed today charging a former Educational Achievement Authority (“EAA”) principal and an after-school tutoring vendor with conspiracy and bribery charges, announced United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade.

Joining McQuade in the announcement were David P. Gelios, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Jarod J. Koopman, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation.

The five-count indictment charges that from approximately August 2012 through November 2014, Kenyetta Wilbourn Snapp, the former principal of the EAA’s Denby High School and then Mumford High School, conspired to commit bribery and money laundering. Also charged in the indictment were Glynis Thornton, whose company, Making a Difference Everyday (“M.A.D.E.”), provided after-school tutoring services to Denby and Mumford, and Paulette Horton, who was an independent contractor working for M.A.D.E.

According to the indictment, Snapp selected Thornton’s M.A.D.E. as the after-school tutoring vendor for Denby and Mumford. In exchange, Thornton paid Snapp monetary kickbacks as a reward for Snapp selecting and retaining M.A.D.E. as the after-school tutoring vendor. Thornton disguised payments to Snapp by causing checks to be issued payable to Horton’s company, rather than paying Snapp directly. Horton would then deposit and withdraw the money and give it to Snapp.

Snapp is also charged with tax evasion for failing to report income during taxable year 2012. Horton is also charged with failing to file individual tax returns for year 2011.

“It is incredibly disheartening when school officials and vendors steal money that was intended to educate students, as these charges allege,” McQuade said. “We appreciate the full cooperation of the EAA in this matter.”

FBI Special Agent in Charge Gelios stated, “Investigation demonstrated that Ms. Wilbourn-Snapp and her associates took resources allocated to her by the State of Michigan to educate our children and diverted funds for their own personal gain. There can be no tolerance for this abuse of authority. Entrusted by the community to facilitate educational excellence in Detroit’s schools, those indicted betrayed that trust. The FBI, and our partners in this investigation, will always work diligently to bring to justice public officials who selfishly misuse their positions and place their own interests above those they were hired to serve.”

IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge Koopman stated, “The IRS enforces the nation’s tax laws, but also takes particular interest in cases involving the payment of kickbacks in exchange for contracts such as the scheme devised by Snapp.”

This case was investigated by agents of the FBI and IRS-CI. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys J. Michael Buckley and Frances Carlson.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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