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Former Boston head of school pleads guilty to embezzlement

Schools Former Boston head of school pleads guilty to embezzling nearly $40,000 of public money Naia Wilson embezzled money from New Mission School in Hyde Park and used it to pay for all-inclusive vacations for herself and her friends. Naia Wilson, the former head of New Mission High School in Hyde Park, pleaded guilty to misusing nearly $40,000 in school funds to pay for vacations for her and her friends. She is pictured outside the school in 2016. David Ryan/The Boston Globe
A former Boston Public Schools head of school pleaded guilty to misusing nearly $40,000 in public money on things like all-inclusive personal vacations in federal court Wednesday.
Mattapan resident Naia Wilson, who was head of school at Hyde Park‘s New Mission School from 2006 to 2019, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s office said in a press release.
Wilson, 60, was charged Aug. 1 based on allegations that she embezzled money from the school between 2016 and 2019. She did this by secretly requesting school checks in other people’s names, fraudulently endorsing the checks, and then depositing them in her bank account.
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In total, Wilson stole $38,806 in public funds. Some of that money went to pay for two all-inclusive vacations to Barbados for herself and her friends.
Wilson’s attorney previously said that she admits what she did was wrong. He characterized her actions as a “modest lapse in judgment.”
New Mission is a pilot school, which means administrators are given maximum autonomy over the school’s budget and spending. Federal prosecutors started investigating Wilson at the same time that an independent audit flagged New Mission School for slipshod recordkeeping.
Boston Public Schools Superintendent Mary Skipper, who was not working at the district when the embezzlement happened, previously thanked the U.S. Attorney’s office for investigating Wilson.
“The Boston Public Schools takes its responsibility as a steward of public funds very seriously,” Skipper said. “…Since these incidents, the Boston Public Schools has implemented additional internal protocols and procedures to prevent a situation like this from occurring again.”
On Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Allison Burroughs scheduled Wilson’s sentencing for Jan. 9, 2024. The charge of wire fraud provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000.
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But, as long as a judge approves Wilson’s plea deal with prosecutors, she will only serve up to 90 days in prison, be subject to 24 months of supervised release, and only have to pay back as much money as she stole.

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