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February 21, 2013

College Foundation's Ex-Treasurer Admits Defrauding Charity

The former treasurer of a University of Houston-affiliated foundation pleaded guilty Tuesday to orchestrating a fraud scheme that fleeced $550,000 from the college charity, according to the Associated Press.

Brian Bjork of Missouri City, Tex., admitted in federal court to one count of wire fraud in which an additional $850,000 was stolen from unidentified investors.

According to a plea agreement, Mr. Bjork used his position with the Houston Athletics Foundation, which raises money for sports scholarships, to write checks disguised as bond investments and deposit them into a personal account, into which he also shifted funds from the charity directly.

The agreement states that the fraud was a piece of a larger bond scam run by David Salinas, a business associate of Mr. Bjork who killed himself in 2011, and that the Houston foundation was "victimized in the larger Salinas bond scam by an even greater amount."