The former president of a for-profit education firm linked to Chaka "Chip" Fattah Jr. was sentenced Thursday in federal court to more than six years in prison for embezzling $800,000 intended to help guide at-risk students in Philadelphia.
David T. Shulick, head of the now-defunct Delaware Valley High School Management Corp. in Bala Cynwyd, was sentenced to 80 months and ordered by Senior U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III to pay $764,735 in restitution to the Philadelphia School District. He is to surrender to federal authorities on Oct. 24.
Shulick, 48, of Gladwyne, was found guilty in May by a federal jury of conspiracy, embezzlement, fraud, and tax violations between 2010 and 2012.
He used the embezzled funds, which were meant to help struggling teens, on his $1.1 million, 13-room Gladwyne home and his beach house in Margate, N.J., prosecutors said. He also lied about many of those expenses on his personal and corporate income taxes, and schemed to defraud PNC Bank.
Hope C. Lefeber, Shulick's lawyer, said Thursday night that Shulick intended to appeal his conviction and sentence. Lefeber said the prosecution overstated the amount of money involved, and called Shulick's conduct "careless but not criminal."
As she did during Shulick's three-week trial, Lefeber blamed Fattah Jr. for Shulick's problems, calling the son of former U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah a "fraudster extraordinaire."
U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain said in a statement: "Shulick promised to provide at-risk school students with counseling, security, and support services. He also promised to pay teachers a decent wage. He broke all of those promises and lined his pockets with funds that he had no business taking, all the while spending hundreds of thousands of dollars renovating his Gladwyne home and his vacation home in New Jersey. Shulick's actions were an appalling abuse of trust, which the sentence makes clear."
Shulick hired Fattah Jr. in 2009. The prosecution's sentencing memo said Shulick sought his services "for one reason only" — he was the son of a congressman.
Between 2010 and 2012, Shulick's company, through a subsidiary called Unique Educational Experiences Inc., held a $2.1 million contract with the School District to run an alternative school in Southwest Philadelphia.
FBI and IRS agents raided Shulick's Logan Square office in 2012, and his company eventually declared bankruptcy in 2015, the same year Fattah Jr. went on trial for bank and tax fraud in a related case. Fattah Jr. was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison.