Patricia Cleary is currently facing multiple federal charges of fraud for posing as a tutor for nearly two years and at a cost of $90,000 to taxpayers. In her two years gaming the system as a false tutor, Cleary claimed to be tutoring a relative whom has special needs and attended school within the Philadelphia school district. Cleary used her maiden name, Goldstein, to falsely sign a federal tax form under another individual’s Social Security Number in order to collect tax money for personal usage and also to pass herself off as someone with a variety of credentials suitable for a state-funded tutor of special needs students.
Cleary is staring down a total of 28 charges, including aggravated identity theft, false statements to government agents, mail fraud, Social Security fraud, wire fraud.She had plead “not guilty” and has been ordered released on $10,000 bail. Neither Cleary, who has previously resided in Philly, nor her attorney have been available for comment.
Cleary’s scheme began in 2014, when she and her husband reached a settlement with the school system involving the student relative. The boy was given 1,200 hours of compensatory education at the price of $60/hour and the stipulation that documentation would be provided to indicate this education had been provided. Between January of 2015 and May of 2016, Cleary repeatedly passed herself off as the boy’s teacher using her maiden name, Patricia Goldstein. Federal officials report that Cleary has no certifications that would make her fit to teach and that the relative had received no education.
The district paid Cleary nearly $59,000 in invoices. When payments halted on her monthly invoices, Cleary made litigious threats. Michal T Harpster, an FBI Special Agent in Charge of the case, characterized Cleary as someone seeking to exploit family members at the detriment of the school’s budget and her relative. Daniel B. Brubaker, Philadelphia’s inspector with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, remarked that identity theft is a serious crime that strikes millions of Americans on an annual basis and that Cleary’s malfeasance is just one example of how it can strike. Lee Whack, a spokesman for the school district, said that the schools would continue to team up with law enforcement and the Inspector General’s Office. Whack remarked that any attempt to defraud Philadelphia’s schools, its students and the taxpayers who fund those schools is a serious offense that will never be accepted.