Three former employees of Vatterott plead guilty in response to a federal indictment which had been filed February 5, 2009 in regards to claims that the individuals had committed fraud against the government. The former school officials admitted to conspiracy to commit fraud against the federal government by falsifying federal financial aid forms and other documents. At least with a guilty plea they didn’t bother wasting any more of the taxpayers’ money by drawing things out forever. The individuals in question obtained over $344,000 in federal financial aid for students who were ineligible. Yet another for-profit school has been slapped with a lawsuit.
The guilty plea was received by Judge Gary A. Fenner in U.S. District Court in regards to events which took place between August 2005 and July 2006. During that time, Kevin Earl Woods, campus co-director, Dale Odei Marbell, and Dominic Campbell conspired to defraud students and the government by enrolling students which did not have a high school or GED certificate. As this would have made them ineligible for entry in addition to disqualifying them from receiving federal aid, the trio manufactured GED certificates and submitted the forms as valid. Students were also advised to sign up for GED programs and bring the requisition forms to the school. These were not verified by government GED officials and were added to the students’ files in case anyone cared to check.
Students were then told to check off the box that they would have the required GED by the time the program was to begin on their student loan documents and submit them. The three then enrolled the students and collected the funds they were not entitled to. Woods went further by fudging enrollment numbers and seriously inflating them to ensure he was promoted to co-director. This position allowed him to oversee both the financial aid and enrollment departments at Vetterot and allowed him to conspire with his two coworkers to commit fraud.
In July 2006, Woods was terminated from his position but the trio had managed to commit substantial amounts of fraud at that point. The other two defendants, Dale Odei Marbell and Dominic L. Campbell, plead guilty to knowingly enrolling ineligible students and assisting with the GED scam and fraudulent applications. The two co-defendants will face five years in federal position as per federal statute and will also each incur a $250,000 fine.
For-profit schools often appear in the headlines after reaching settlements with students in regards to their alleged fraud. This allows them to avoid admitting to any wrongdoing and usually means a return of a portion, or all, of the fraudulently obtained money. In this case, the individuals themselves were fired so they no longer represent the school specifically and had to account for their actions themselves. More recent online claims against the school indicate that the school is still providing substandard programs and still has predatory lending and enrollment practices in addition to misrepresentations about accreditation.
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