Principal Quits After Being Scammed by Fake Elon Musk

She wrote $100K check after months of communicating with fraudster
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2023 12:28 PM CDT
Principal Says She Was Scammed by Fake Elon Musk
The real Elon Musk departs the Phillip Burton Federal Building and United States Court House in San Francisco on Jan. 24, 2023.   (AP Photo/Benjamin Fanjoy, File)

The principal of a charter STEM school in Florida resigned this week after saying she had been taken in by a scammer pretending to be Elon Musk. "I am a very smart lady. Well-educated. I fell for a scam," Dr. Jan McGee told a board meeting, per WESH. She said she had been "groomed" by somebody she had been communicating with online and wrote a $100,000 check to somebody she believed was Musk's right-hand man. The business manager of the Burns Science and Technology school stopped the check before it could clear. Board chair Albert Amalfitano says McGee apparently believed Musk would donate $6 million to the school in a "matching funds scheme."

McGee had been principal of the well-respected Volusia County school since it opened in 2011, Gizmodo reports. According to WESH, she had long spoken of trying to get Musk—and his fortune—involved with the school. "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 at the board meeting. She resigned after administrators said they were no longer willing to work for her. Some of them said that McGee had created a toxic work environment, and that they had warned her the person she was communicating with was a fraudster.

Amalfitano, the board chair, says that law enforcement told him there are no "legal ramifications" because the check was stopped and no money went to the scammer—but that could change depending on what the board's investigation finds. He says that while he doesn't believe McGee was acting for personal financial gain, it's"kind of a little shady" that she wrote a check that was double the amount she was allowed to sign for and didn't tell anybody else about the transaction, Fox 35 reports. "It's a tough story to believe and if that's the case, then she was really, really, really scammed," he says. (More Elon Musk stories.)

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