Principal Sends $100,000 of School Funds to Fake Elon Musk, Claims She Was 'Groomed'

The principal of a charter school in Florida resigned after falling for a scammer posing as Elon Musk.
WESH 2 News Screengrab.

A high school principal in Florida has resigned after school board members discovered she’d written a $100,000 check from the school's funds to someone posing as Elon Musk online.

Dr. Jan McGee worked at the Burns Science and Technology Charter school, a STEM charter school in Oak Hill, Florida. According to local news reports, McGee wanted to raise money for the school and had been trying to get Musk to notice her for sometime.

When someone posing as Musk made contact with McGee, she seemed to believe it. The faux-Musk convinced McGee to write them a $100,000 check and claimed it would lead to Musk investing $6 million in the school. “Somehow she believed it,” Albert Amalfitano, the board chair of the charter school, told WESH 2 News. “He must have been really convincing.”

“I am a very smart lady. Well-educated. I fell for a scam,” said during a meeting of the board and teachers, which was filmed by WESH 2 News. Then she said the Musk impersonator had groomed her, invoking a term that is very popular among Republicans right now. “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.”

McGee wrote the $100,000 check directly from school funds, something she wasn’t authorized to do. It’s written out to someone named Luis Alberto Feranendez, someone McGee believed was Musk’s “right hand man.” In the memo space, she wrote “Matching Funds.”

McGee apologized during the meeting.“I put myself into this position and into this mess and I made a bad decision,” she said. Three other administrators said she’d created a toxic work environment and refused to keep working with her. Then she resigned and left the meeting with her husband, who was a teacher but also resigned.