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Caldwell University to pay $4.8M for defrauding veterans program
NJBIZ - 1/10/2020
Caldwell University entered into an agreement with the United States Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey to resolve an investigation dating back to 2013, according to Caldwell and the United States Attorney's Office.
Between 2009 and 2013, Caldwell College had a contractual relationship with Ed4Mil, a company that provided on-line training courses to veterans in conjunction with Caldwell, Caldwell spokeswoman Colette Liddy told NJBIZ.
Unbeknownst to Caldwell's board and cabinet, Ed4Mil personnel and a college employee engaged in a scheme to defraud the government, Liddy said. The college employee separated from employment with Caldwell before the scheme was discovered. A number of people from Ed4Mil, including its principal, and the former Caldwell employee have pleaded guilty to criminal charges, she said.
Liddy said the board of trustees and the cabinet of Caldwell University have denounced this conduct and along with the administration are truly sorry for what occurred. Caldwell University cooperated with the government throughout its investigation, she said.
"Caldwell has been committed to making restitution to the United States on behalf of the veterans of our country by returning all of the money that the University was paid under the Ed4Mil contract," Liddy said. "To that end, as part of the agreement with the United States Attorney, Caldwell has agreed to pay $4.8 million, representing the funds Caldwell received under the contract with Ed4Mil. Since becoming aware of the misconduct in August 2013, Caldwell University has developed new policies and procedures to ensure that this type of conduct will not happen again."
From Jan. 1, 2011, through Aug. 8, 2013, Caldwell University submitted false claims for payment to the Department of Veterans Affairs in order to receive education benefits and funds pursuant to the Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Act (Post 9/11 GI Bill) to which it was not entitled, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said. He also stated that the post 9/11 GI bill was designed specifically to help veterans who served in the armed forces after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
Three individuals previously pleaded guilty to separate informations charging them with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud related to this scheme to defraud the VA, Carpenito said. Lisa DiBisceglie, the university’s former associate dean of the Office of External Partnership; David Alvey, founder and president of Ed4Mil LLC; and Helen Sechrist, a former employee of Ed4Mil, admitted their respective roles in the conspiracy to fraudulently obtain millions of dollars in tuition assistance and other education-related benefits from the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Carpenito said.
Alvey was sentenced on June 4, 2018, to five years in prison. DiBisceglie and Sechrist were each sentenced on June 5, 2018, to three years of probation. All three defendants were also ordered to pay $24 million in restitution, Carpenito said.
CREDIT: David Hutter