A former principal of a junior high school in the Bronx was arrested yesterday after authorities accused him of swiping $30,000 from the school's account to help fund his very expensive extramarital affair.
Robert Hannibal, 59, (please take a moment to savor the photos here) pleaded guilty to siphoning cash from JHS 145's bank account over a period of nearly three years, using an ATM and debit card to withdraw cash and make purchases.
According to the Office of Special Commissioner of Investigation, Hannibal confessed that he had been having marital problems, and since his DOE salary was deposited directly into his joint bank account with his wife, he began using the school's account to hide his money from her. He later admitted that he had been having an affair with another woman, and used money from the account to purchase her gifts, take her to dinner, cover her bills and give her cash. According to an SCI report, the spending "got out of control."
Hannibal, who told investigators he didn't believe he was stealing the money, later acknowledged he withdrew about $29K from the account, depositing about $5K of his own money into it to cover the missing funds. The school's money came from various fundraising ventures like candy sales and donations, and was used to fund school activities.
Hannibal, who has worked for the DOE since 1979 and became principal of the Morrisania school in 1993, was terminated from his position in 2013 after the SCI started investigating the account. "During his time at JHS 145, he engaged in illegal activity and violated the trust of the students, families, and city he was supposed to serve,” DOE spokesperson Harry Hartfield told the Post. “There is no place for this sort of behavior in our schools." We reached out to the DOE for additional comment and will update when we hear back.
The SCI says Hannibal pleaded guilty to felony grand larceny. He has paid the city $21,080.83, and has been fined an additional $5,000.