Former Shaw professor accused of stealing $444,000 from federal program

dkane@newsobserver.comAugust 19, 2013 

— A former Shaw University professor is set to appear in U.S. District Court on Tuesday to face a mail fraud charge involving the theft of $444,000 from a federal program that encourages high school students to go into math and science careers.

Ademola Ejire, 53, of Raleigh is accused of defrauding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Research Apprenticeship Program for more than a decade by falsely claiming his wife helped manage the grant as a Shaw employee and his children were participants. In a document filed with the court, the U.S. Attorney’s Office says Ejire began the scam in 2001 and wasn’t caught until July last year.

The fraud charge stems from a check for $1,730 mailed from Shaw University to Ejire’s wife at a post office box that he “had previously opened to facilitate the fraud,” according to the court document.

Ejire’s attorney, John Keating Wiles, said he had no comment in advance of the hearing. Ejire was an assistant professor of biology and environmental science at Shaw; he is also listed as a biology instructor at Johnston Community College.

The News & Observer profiled Ejire and the grant program at Shaw in 2001. Ejire had been helping with the program since 1992, but was named the program manager in 2001.

The apprenticeship program selects 10 to 12 minority students each year to attend summer and weekend classes for their first three years of high school. The fourth year they are hired for six-week internships at EPA offices in Research Triangle Park. The students are paid summer stipends while they are in the program.

Ejire had drawn praise for his work in the program, which had a high success rate of placing students in college.

An N.C. State University administrator had said Ejire was “a teacher, a friend, a parent and a disciplinarian” to the students.

Ejire, a native of Nigeria, told a reporter for the Smithfield Herald in 2004 that he came to the U.S. to attend N.C. State University as a pre-med student. He ended up getting his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate from N.C. State.

Kane: 919-829-4861

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