A former university professor is facing criminal charges for allegedly spending research grant money on strip clubs, food and iTunes purchases.

Chikaodinaka Nwankpa, 57, formerly of Drexel University, was arrested last week and charged with theft by unlawful taking and theft by deception for the inappropriate use of a $185,000 grant.

“Mr. Nwankpa inappropriately and criminally diverted tens of thousands of dollars that were allocated for research purposes toward his own private enjoyment,” Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said. “He betrayed Drexel University and tuition-paying students he was paid to educate”

The educator’s spending habits first came to light when an audit found several “no receipt” purchases between 2010 and 2017. It was eventually found that he had spent $96,000 at strip clubs and sports bars, and a further $89,000 on iTunes, food, and other inappropriate purchases. Expense reports showed that 63% of these purchases had been made between the hours of midnight and 2 a.m., and 48% were made on the weekends.

Nwankpa previously served as chairman of Drexel’s engineering department. Based on available information, it is unclear what the grant had been intended for. He was placed on administrative leave when the investigation into his misconduct began and eventually resigned from the university.

“Drexel takes allegations of unethical or unlawful business conduct on the part of any members of the University community very seriously,” Drexel spokeswoman Niki Gianakaris said. “The University initially reported this situation to the US Attorney's Office and has worked cooperatively with federal and state investigations into the matter.”

Nwankpa was released from jail after posting a $25,000 bail and surrendering his passport. A preliminary hearing in his case is scheduled for Jan. 29.

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