Hankerson Jr. has been accused of embezzling thousands of dollars in financial aid funds.


Tyrone Hankerson Jr., who attended Howard University as an undergraduate and graduate student and also worked for the schools’ financial aid office, has become the face of many memes recently for living an extravagant and over-the-top lifestyle. But, while the memes might have you chuckling, there are also many who are actually concerned with what they see in these photos and the fact that Hankerson may have been embezzling money from the school’s financial aid department. In fact, some are even concerned now that while Hankerson Jr. was out traveling and indulging in Gucci bags or Prada slacks, they were being denied financial aid to help get them through the semester and afford the costly life that comes along with being a college student.


Why is Hankerson Jr. being accused of embezzlement?


It wasn’t until after a pseudonymously written post on Medium came out that led to Hankerson Jr. being given the name “Joanne the Scammer.” And here’s why. The post mentioned that the Howard University student had some sort of connection with a scheme where university officials had allegedly embezzled $1 million in financial aid money, according to Huffington Post. In the post, it was suggested that Hankerson Jr. had received thousands, $429,000 to be exact, in “ill-gotten aid.”  While he provided a statement to ABC News claiming he was innocent of the crime, his photos depicting this fancy lifestyle he led gave off a much different message to the public.

But, Hankerson Jr. and his defense attorney participated in a sit-down interview with journalist Roland Martin where they “maintained his innocence” and provided a little more detail as to how he got the money he did, and it wasn’t $429,000. Hankerson Jr. was a student at the school and was awarded financial aid for the time he attended classes. He also was employed by the school between 2011 and 2015 and received a paycheck for the time he worked. Over the course of the seven years that Hankerson Jr. was employed and a student, he may have received $200,000, according to his statement made in the interview.


Howard University Has Not Yet Pressed Any Charges


Eventually, the Medium post was removed from the internet, but photos of Hankerson continued to surface with comments that took a hit at his character. One photo showed Hankerson Jr. walking up to a black Range Rover, which he denied having and another with him walking and carrying a Gucci bag and a comment above it stating, “another semester down, another bag secured.” Someone reposted this photo and added the comment, “Work Sis!”


Although Hankerson Jr. says he’s innocent, the university is responsible for misappropriating funds.


The president of Howard University, Wayne Frederick, did confirm that financial aid officials “had indeed misappropriated funds earmarked for low-income students between 2007 and 2016” and as a result, six employees were fired. Hankerson Jr. was not one of those employees. He believes that his innocence will soon be revealed and the public will realize he “followed all rules and protocol with the approval of the financial aid officers in any grants, scholarships, or awards” given to him.

Although Howard University hasn’t taken any steps toward pressing charges, it was a good idea for Hankerson Jr. to retain a Washington, DC criminal defense lawyer as he could be looking at some pretty serious charges if the allegations are proved to be true.