CUNY Bursar Charged with Embezzlement

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Designer brands. Exotic trips. Everything a college student desires and more. Joseph Boselli blew his “passive income” on all of it. The former CCNY bursar was charged with siphoning $500,000 in student funds and scholarships on Tuesday, October 26.

According to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, Boselli allegedly gathered the funds by pocketing over 900 checks issued to students between August 2012 and November 2017.

Amounts ranged from $4 to $3,318 and were meant to fund stipends and scholarships.

The accused would write, “pay to the order of Joseph Boselli,” on the back of some checks and forge the signatures of students. Prosecutors explained that after depositing the money into a personal account, Boselli would later spend it on flights to California and Milan.

News of the scandal has sparked outcry from multiple fronts. “Many New Yorkers who take advantage of the world-class public education [CUNY] at their doorstep face enormous financial burdens thanks to the high cost of living here,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, said in an official statement. “The last thing students and their families need to worry about is university employees stealing money that is rightfully owed to them.”

Joseph Boselli balanced traveling with answering to students who had emailed him about their missing money. According to investigators, the former bursar would inform them that the matter was being handled, sometimes arranging for them to be awarded with another check.

On top of booking expensive holiday getaways to Aruba and Italy, Boselli also allegedly spent the stolen funds by purchasing merchandise from Gucci as well as net jeweler Blue Nile.

Despite these recent developments, suspicion surrounding Joseph Boselli extend as far back as 2017. That same year, CCNY had placed the bursar on leave after the State Inspector General Office conducted an investigation concerning the theft of over $160,000 at the university.

Then interim president Vince Boudreau, would release a signed email on October 4, 2017 alluding to the unaccounted funds, with Boselli also being formally let go 2 years later.

Arranged at the Manhattan Legal Courtroom, Boselli is charged with second degree larceny, first degree scheme to defraud, and providing a false instrument for submitting. Assistant District Legal professional Jessica Olive expects Boselli to take a plea deal of two to six years in prison.

CUNY Chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez spoke about the investigation in a press release. “This case is an example of CUNY’s continued commitment to identify and eradicate allegations of corruption, fraud, criminal activity, and conflicts of interest by promptly referring such instances to the appropriate authorities and cooperating fully with the investigations,” Rodríguez stated. “I commend everyone at CUNY and in law enforcement for their hard work on this case.”

News of CCNY’s scandal has also reached students at Queens College. When asked about his thoughts on the stolen funds, current student Theodore Mantzikos expressed how especially with offices being online, recipients need to be careful about their funds. “I got to keep track now. Everything is through email and there’s no face-to-face interactions; no accountability. I feel like if someone wanted to, they can take advantage of me.”

The stolen $500,000 is part of a string of scandals that have plagued CCNY. In 2016, former President Lisa Coico stepped down amid a federal probe into alleged financial misconduct.

Instead of deciding whether to wear Gucci or fly out to Milan for the day, Joseph Boselli must make the crucial choice of if he wants to accept the plea deal. Now having to answer to the courts, one fact that’s certain is that the former bursar’s next destination will be prison.

Stavros Anastasiou

Stavros is an editor and writer for The Knight News with a Bachelor's in Classics as well as Byzantine & Modern Greek Studies. Joining the paper back in June 2021, he's covered a wide variety of stories related to CUNY, New York City, and even conducted interviews with fellow Queens College alumni and professors. Working for The Knight News has been a rewarding experience for Stavros and he hopes to continue his involvement in the field of journalism. In his free time, Stavros loves to play basketball, hang out with family and friends, and work on creative projects.

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