2 Middle Tennessee State students accused of stealing $114K from university

Mohamed Gure and Mohamed Osman were charged with stealing from MTSU.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Two Middle Tennessee State University students have been charged with stealing over $114,000 from the school, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Mohamed Gure and Mohamed Osman, both 22, were indicted by a Rutherford County Grand Jury following a joint investigation by special agents with the TBI and the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury. The two Nashville men were arrested Tuesday, TBI spokesman Josh DeVine said.

The investigation came at the request of 16th District Attorney General Jennings Jones in November after university officials became suspicious of funds being used by the Somali Student Association and Muslim Student Association, according to a news release. Gure and Osman served as presidents of the Somali student group.

“If proven to be true, we will pursue every appropriate legal and campus judicial action to hold those accountable and recoup the funds,” MTSU President Sidney McPhee said.

Investigators developed information indicating the two were responsible for fraudulently obtaining more than $114,000 over a three-year period, state Comptroller Jason Mumpower said.

During their time in office, Gure and Osman submitted at least 85 false invoices to MTSU to obtain reimbursements totaling $82,200 of Student Activity Fee funds, Mumpower said.

Many of the invoices were for payments to nonexistent vendors. A commonly reimbursed expenditure was honorarium payments for public speakers, although no public speaking events occurred, Mumpower said.

The Somali Students Association also received $3,000 in reimbursement payments from the Tina Stewart Campus Nonviolence Fund for public speaking events that did not take place. The nonviolence fund is named for the former MTSU women’s basketball player who was killed by her roommate in an off-campus apartment in 2011.

It was not immediately clear how Gure and Osman may have used the funds.

Mumpower said investigators noted “several instances in which MTSU officials were not following their own guidance when processing reimbursements.”

Corrective actions are being taken to review how the activity fee committee considers future funding requests, McPhee said.

“The committee, which is comprised of six students, two faculty members and an administrator who serves as its coordinator, will take additional steps to ensure future monies are used properly and to confirm the activities fulfill their stated purposes,” McPhee said.

Gure was charged with one count of theft over $60,000, one count of theft over $10,000, 30 counts of forgery and two counts of criminal simulation. His bond was set at $60,000.

Osman was charged with one count of theft over $60,000, 28 counts of forgery and two counts of criminal simulation. His bond was set at $50,000.

The two men are scheduled to make initial court appearances on March 25.