Charter school principal resigns after sending US$100,000 of school’s money to fake ‘Elon Musk’


McGee resigned this week after sending US$100,000 to a scammer pretending to be Musk, who’s worth an estimated US$192bil. — Getty Images/TNS

It wasn’t exactly a Nigerian prince scam.

Florida charter school Principal Jan McGee resigned this week after sending US$100,000 to a scammer pretending to be South African entrepreneur Elon Musk, who’s worth an estimated US$192bil.

According to Orlando, Florida, station WESH, McGee was repeatedly warned that the grifter, who promised to invest millions into Burns Science and Technology after the school paid him a six-figure upfront investment, was likely not the world’s second richest man.

The school’s business manager reportedly got word of McGee’s blunder and stopped payment, but that didn’t save the principal’s job.

“I am a very smart lady,” McGee said at a Tuesday night meeting before offering to turn in her resignation, which school administrators accepted. “I fell for a scam.”

The check was made out to someone the principal believed to be Musk’s right-hand man.

McGee’s critics also presented other grievances at the Tuesday meeting while pushing for her ousting. She was reportedly not authorised to write checks for more than US$50,000. Board chair Albert Amalfitano said the principal’s gaffe called her credibility into question, which could “cause chaos” moving forward. McGee had been at the school’s helm since it opened in 2011.

Burns Science and Technology reportedly has 1,000 students and a long waiting list. The reputable Oak Hill, Florida, school says it prides itself on fostering “critical thinking, independent problem solving (and) strong communication skills.” US News and World Report calls it Volusia County’s top-ranked middle school.

As for the real Elon Musk, he joined dozens of tech industry influencers this week in signing an open letter asking all artificial intelligence laboratories to cease development of technologies “with human-competitive intelligence” that could be used irresponsibly. – New York Daily News/Tribune News Service

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