In the aftermath of the incident, the principal of a Florida charter school who wrote an unauthorized $100,000 check to a scammer impersonating Elon Musk resigned. Dr. Jan McGee, the principal of Burns Science and Technology Charter, issued the check to the internet scammer despite being informed that it was an impersonator, according to WESH.
McGee admitted in front of a large audience that she “fell for a scam.” Despite being informed by staff that she was speaking with a scammer, she was said to have been in contact with the impersonator for at least four months. The former principal also claimed that the impersonator groomed her.
“Grooming is when you talk to somebody and you believe in them, and they get you to trust them that this is really real, and so I fell for it,” she said.
McGee had reportedly tried over the years to get a contact who could have the real Musk invest in the STEM school. She ended up falling for the impersonator claiming to be the billionaire businessman.
“Somehow she believed it,” board chair Albert Amalfitano said. “He must have been really convincing.”
McGee ended up writing a $100,000 check from the school’s account, Amalfitano said, adding that the former principal was convinced the individual she issued the check to was very close to Musk. “Matching funds with this guy and he was supposed to give like $6 million to the school,” said Amalfitano.
McGee also needed to get authorization from the board if she was writing checks for more than $50,000 from the school’s account. But she did not do that. The school’s business manager eventually prevented the check from clearing after becoming aware of McGee’s actions, WESH reported.
“I put myself into this position and into this mess and I made a bad decision,” McGee said. Though the former principal rendered an apology, other problems were also highlighted during the meeting – with some saying she fostered a toxic working environment.
McGee ultimately resigned after three administrators said they will quit if she remained principal. Her husband, who was also a teacher, has also left the school.
“When you lose the respect of… When your leadership is now in question, you can’t properly lead and that’s going to cause chaos,” Amalfitano said.