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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

CUNY college admin charged with stealing $500K in student funds

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The former bursar at the City College of New York was charged Tuesday with siphoning nearly $500,000 in student funds — which he then allegedly blew on exotic trips and designer goods, prosecutors said.

Joseph Boselli, 58, is accused of pocketing more than 900 checks issued to hundreds of students at the City University of New York college between August 2012 and November 2017, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

Most of the checks — ranging from $4 to $3,318 — were intended to fund stipends and scholarships. Other funds were owed to college kids who had pre-paid tuition or fees prior to the school receiving a loan or other payment.

But instead of handing the checks to students in need, the crooked college cashier allegedly used them to pad his personal piggy bank.

Prosecutors said Boselli deposited the funds into his own account via ATM — and spent the money on flights to Milan, Italy, San Francisco, California, and Jacksonville, Florida.

The City College of New York campus.
Former CUNY bursar Joseph Boselli allegedly used stolen checks to cash out on numerous vacations to Italy, California and Florida.

He also allegedly paid for hotels in Aruba and Italy and bought goods from Gucci, luggage company Luxury Goods Italia S.P.A, and the online jeweler Blue Nile with the stolen cash.

Investigators began looking into suspected thefts at the Bursar’s Office in 2017 when Boselli was placed on leave. He was officially let go in October 2019, authorities said.

In many instances, the stolen checks had forged student signatures on them, or included the handwritten note: “pay to the order of Joseph Boselli,” according to prosecutors.

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance thanks authorities for uncovering the alleged thefts by ex-bursar Joseph Boselli.
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When students e-mailed Boselli about the missing money, he allegedly told them the matter was being investigated, and in some cases arranged for them to be awarded another check, instead of the original one they were owed.

“The last thing students and their families need to worry about is university employees stealing money that is rightfully owed to them,” Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said in a statement.

CUNY Chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez
CUNY Chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez says the scandal-ridden school is “cooperating fully with the investigations.”

“I thank our partners at the New York State Inspector General’s Office for their assistance with this investigation and my Office’s Financial Frauds prosecutors for their diligent work ensuring these thefts were uncovered and the defendant held accountable.”

Boselli was arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court Tuesday evening on charges of second-degree grand larceny, first-degree scheme to defraud and offering a false instrument for filing. He was released on his own recognizance.

Assistant District Attorney Jessica Olive said that Boselli is expected to plead guilty to all counts and that prosecutors will recommend a sentence of two to six years in prison at that time.

Boselli’s defense attorney Alain V. Massena declined to comment.

CUNY Chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez said in a statement that the school was “pleased” to cooperate with authorities on the case.

“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 said. “I commend everyone at CUNY and in law enforcement for their hard work on this case.”


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