Feds Say Fired Philly Fraternity Official Embezzled More Than $1 Million

Former Kappa Alpha Psi finance director Curtis Anderson has admitted to gambling a good chunk of those frat funds at Harrah’s Casino, investigators claim.

kappa alpha psi fraternity embezzlement

The international headquarters of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity on North Broad Street in Philadelphia. (Photo by Isabelle Chausse)

Kappa Alpha Psi is a 108-year-old college fraternity headquartered in Philadelphia. The fraternity, which has some 700 chapters across the United States, claims among its alums sports stars like Colin Kaepernick and Wilt Chamberlain, as well as Philadelphia notables Marc Lamont Hill, Wilson Goode, and John Street. But now, Kappa Alpha Psi finds itself in the middle of a financial scandal surrounding a recently fired official.

Curtis Anderson, 57, had been the director of finance for Kappa Alpha Psi for the last 20 years, but that all ended on Christmas Eve, when the fraternity fired him amid a federal investigation into his activities on the job. Anderson, who could not be reached for comment, has not been arrested or charged with a crime, but a federal grand jury has been empaneled to investigate.

According to an affidavit filed by the feds in Philadelphia’s federal court last week, it all began to unravel earlier in December when Santander Bank reached out to Kappa Alpha Psi executive director John Burrell to report “suspicious activity” on the fraternity’s Santander account.

Burrell immediately went to the bank to review the matter.

A few days later, Burrell returned with Kappa Alpha Psi national president Thomas Battles.

While the two fraternity officials were in the bank that day, none other than Anderson walked in. According to allegations in the affidavit, Anderson turned around and left the bank upon seeing his bosses there. Battles called Anderson on his cell phone and told him to come back, and Anderson complied.

Investigators say that Burrell and Battles confronted Anderson with a series of checks that had been made out to him — and that he allegedly cashed — on the Kappa Alpha Psi account at Santander.

According to court documents, Anderson admitted to Battles and Burrell that he had cashed those checks and explained that he had a gambling and drinking problem, going on to tell them that he spent most of the money at Harrah’s Casino. The fraternity fired him three days later.

Investigators allege that an investigation by multiple federal agencies, including the Secret Service and FBI, soon revealed that Anderson had been illegally cashing fraternity checks for more than a year: approximately $400,000 from the Santander account and another $978,000 or so from Kappa Alpha Psi’s account at Wells Fargo.

The feds say that some of the checks were made out to him; others were made out to fellow Kappa Alpha Psi workers, and Anderson would allegedly tell bank employees that he was just doing the payees a favor by saving them a trip to the bank. Investigators go on to allege that on multiple instances, Anderson would cash a check at Santander and then deposit that exact amount of cash into his own bank account at Santander.

Federal authorities showed up at the Kappa Alpha Psi national headquarters — located about two blocks north of the Temple University campus on North Broad Street — on January 15th. There, they say, they were shown to Anderson’s office, where they claim they found reams of check stock paper as well as signature stamps for Kappa Alpha Psi officials.

According to court documents, Anderson was allowed to make deposits into Kappa Alpha Psi bank accounts, but he was not an authorized signatory. Investigators say that all Kappa Alpha Psi checks were supposed to be signed by two officials — the executive the director and the “Grand Keeper of the Exchequer” — but that the cashed checks they examined were stamped with only one signature, and that this person had left the fraternity in May 2018.

The feds say they have probable cause that wire fraud and bank fraud have been committed, and they’ve obtained a federal search warrant to further search Anderson’s former office at the Kappa Alpha Psi headquarters to assist in a grand jury investigation into the matter.

The fraternity has declined to comment.