After an internal audit revealed two former UF Housing and Residence Education officials allegedly withdrew more than $470,000 in university funds for personal use, UF is considering how to best prevent future fraud.
UF Housing’s former senior director, Azfar Mian, and former finance director, Stina Schoneck, were arrested Nov. 8 after auditors accused the two of embezzling the nearly half a million dollars through a Campus USA Credit Union account. Three other Housing officials were also fired in October in relation to the audit.
UF spokesperson Janine Sikes said although UF checks internal finances among top officials regularly, officials are considering putting more safeguards in place.
She said she could not point to any specific policy changes until the full audit is complete and published.
“I think once the investigation is over, absolutely, they’ll very clearly point to maybe some potential weaknesses,” Sikes said.
Mian, who was first arrested Sept. 18 and subsequently fired, was accused of purchasing items including household items from Furniture Kingdom with his UF Purchasing Card and reimbursing lunch meals as early as January 2016 and as late as July 2017, according to Alligator archives.
Schoneck and Mian co-opened the Credit Union account in February 2016, deposited about $530,000 in checks made out to UF Housing and withdrew about $470,000 with “no business justification” and “no business purposes for or with UF,” according to a University Police sworn complaint.
After the UF Office of Internal Audit received multiple anonymous reports that top officials were misusing funds, 14 months after the account was opened, the audit began.
“It’s a $60 million operation, it’s just a very large organization, and certainly we have controls in place,” Sikes said of UF Housing. “Those controls were circumvented.”
As of press time, Mian remains in Alachua County Jail in lieu of a $500,000 bond on a charge of grand theft. He has a bond reduction hearing set for Wednesday afternoon.
Mian’s attorney declined to comment. Schoneck’s attorney could not be reached for comment. Mian’s wife, Ayesha, the associate director of UF Innovation Academy, also declined to comment.
Former resident assistant Jeff Streitmatter said news of the department’s unfolding scandal comes amid growing frustrations for Housing workers. Streitmatter, who was a Beaty Towers RA from January 2014 to May 2016, said in his time he saw forms of compensation dwindle away.
The unwritten policy that RAs would have rooms to themselves for most of the academic year was often not upheld and getting reimbursements for monthly mandatory projects by RAs — like a movie night or Streitmatter’s elevator-based trivia game he based off of TV show “Cash Cab” — was painstaking, he said.
The UF industrial and systems engineering fifth-year said he looks at his former employer in a different light now after the allegations.
“It’s frustrating because it’s like, ‘What do you expect when there’s people at the top with not a lot of transparency?’” the 22-year-old said. “It’s unfair and dishonest. All these things hurt people when we don’t have enough money in the trenches at the lower levels.”