HOUSTON – An arrest warrant has been issued for a former assistant dean of Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law after he was charged with theft, according to a law enforcement source.
The new charges come as part of an investigation into “improprieties related to the admissions process,” that came to light in Nov. 2019.
Edward Wayne Rene, 52, faces a second-degree felony theft charge after officials say he allegedly stole from the university by “awarding double tuition scholarships to at least two students,” and then made the students return the money which he allegedly pocketed.
A law enforcement source told KPRC 2 Wednesday that Rene was scheduled to turn himself in to law enforcement but had not as of Wednesday afternoon and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
About the case
Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said Rene “masterminded a variety of schemes to steal money from the school by diverting student scholarship funds to himself.”
“He abused his power for personal profit and his actions hurt the school and the students,” Ogg said in the release. “It was the TSU Board of Regents who brought us the case following an internal investigation, and we applaud their swift actions to bring this thief to justice.”
Rene acted as the school’s chief enrollment officer and was employed as the Thurgood Marshall School of Law’s Assistant Dean of Admissions since 1999, according to the school’s website.
In November, the university said an employee had been fired over improprieties in the admissions process but did not specify who the employee was or what the improprieties were. At the time, the school said the findings of their internal audit were turned over to local authorities.
In February, TSU President Dr. Austin Lane was fired after the university’s board of regents voted 6-1 in favor of his termination.
In a statement after Lane’s termination, the board said Lane “failed to appropriately act on or inform the Board about allegations of fraud committed by the former law school official, including evidence of a student payment for admission to the school.”
The DA’s office said the university’s board of regents brought the matter to their Public Corruption Division and together with the FBI, charges were filed against Rene.
A spokesperson for the DA’s office said Rene is expected to surrender in the coming days.
Anyone with further information about possible wrongdoing in this matter is asked to contact the District Attorney’s Office Public Corruption Division at 713-274-5911 or FBI’s Houston Division at 713-693-5000.