Former Michigan school administrator pleads guilty to obstructing federal investigation

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NORTHVILLE, MI – A former Michigan school administrator has pleaded guilty to obstructing a federal grand jury investigation.

Deanna Barash, 46, of Auburn Hills, faces a maximum sentence of ten years in prison and a fine of up to $ 250,000.

Barash, then deputy superintendent of Northville Public Schools, approved a contract for NPS to purchase instructional materials from a third party without revealing to NPS that it had a financial relationship with the party.

After Barash left the NPS, school officials learned of the contract and let Barash know they were reporting his actions to authorities. Barash then deleted some emails between herself and the third party from her private email account.

In an interview, Barash lied to federal investigators about his actions. She initially claimed that she deleted the email messages only as part of her usual routine, but later admitted that she deleted the messages because she learned that she was the subject of an investigation and tried to prevent investigators from seeing them.

“Safeguarding the spending integrity of our public schools is of the utmost importance,” Acting United States Attorney Saima S. Mohsin said in a statement.

“We will continue to work with school systems when there are corruption or fraud issues related to the disbursement of their funds. Today’s guilty plea underscores our office’s commitment to holding those accountable for interference with these and other federal investigations.

Barash’s sentencing is scheduled for August 25 at 11 a.m. Mohsin was joined in the announcement by Timothy Waters, special agent in charge of the Detroit, Michigan office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

“Deanna Barash used her position as assistant superintendent of Northville Public Schools for her own financial gain, then tried to avoid liability by destroying evidence of her wrongdoing,” Waters said. “The FBI is committed to preserving public trust in government at all levels and will hold accountable any public official who undermines that trust.”

Mohsin also thanked Northville Public Schools for their cooperation in this matter.

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