Georgia resident Muthini Nzuki was charged with first-degree larceny and first-degree computer crime Friday in Rockville Superior Court for illegally diverting over $750,000 of University of Connecticut funds into her personal account last spring, according to a UConn Police Department (UCPD) incident report.
“The routing number for University of Connecticut funds in the form of payments meant for the Dell Computer Company had been remotely changed by an unauthorized person using electronic/computer device(s),” Sgt. Douglas Lussier said in the Oct. 19 incident report. “During this time frame, these payments were diverted to this individual’s personal bank account in Georgia.”
A Rockville Superior Court judge set her bail at $500,000, citing that she has no ties to the state and that she came into the state without a fight, according to the Hartford Courant.
Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed an extradition warrant in early October to bring Nzuki into the state from Georgia, according to the Courant.
“Nzuki refused to waive extradition, and a Governor’s Warrant was prepared by Rockville Superior Court for her extradition which was approved by both the State of Connecticut and the State of Georgia’s Governors Offices,” Lussier said.
UCPD brought Nzuki back from Georgia to stay overnight at their department Thursday, according to UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz. Nzuki was then taken to Rockville Superior Court on Friday, Reitz said.
In a month-long investigation that started on June 21, UCPD determined that Nzuki was responsible for the theft, according to Lussier. UCPD presented an arrest warrant to Rockville Superior Court, which was then signed on Aug. 16, Lussier said.
Nzuki fled to her home country of Kenya immediately after she diverted the UConn funds into her personal account seventeen times between April 13 and May 8, according to the Courant.
“(Nzuki) had been in custody in Georgia since August, when she returned to the U.S. and authorities detained her based on being flagged by UConn Police that she was wanted,” Reitz said.
Third-semester political science major Frederick Van Augur said this incident makes him more fearful for UConn’s financial state.
“The woman was robbing the students of UConn and the taxpayers of a state at a time of fiscal shortage,” Augur said. “In the face of austere cuts to the state, her actions only exacerbate the problem.”
Reitz said this incident will be easily resolved and will have no effect on the financial state of UConn.
“UConn and the state will not be on the hook to absorb the financial loss,” Reitz said. “That would be worked out between the vendor (Payment Works) who processed our payments and the contractor (Dell) who was supposed to receive them.”
Andrew Miano is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.