The Justice Department building in Washington, D.C., on August 10. Friday the Justice Department announced guilty pleas from seven people in fraud schemes that cost the Department of Veterans Affairs more than $100 million. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 16 (UPI) -- Seven defendants pleaded guilty in various schemes to defraud the Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits program, involving over $100 million in losses to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Justice said Friday.
"The Post-9/11 GI Bill was enacted to aid our military veterans and their families on behalf of a nation grateful for their service," said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr., in a statement. "These frauds drain funds from a vital veterans' program and undermine public faith in the administration of government."
Defendants pleading guilty, according to the Justice Department statement were :
Michael Bostock, 54, of Nampa, Idaho, and Eric Bostock, 47, of Riverside, Calif. Each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud for falsifying veteran's enrollment in California Technical Academy.
Robert Lanoue, 63, and Judith Lanoue, 59, both of Savannah, Ga. They admitted their guilt on one count of submitting false claims to the VA. They owned Scooba Shack, a VA-approved scuba academy.
David Anderegg, 42, of Richmond Hill, Ga., also pleaded guilty to submitting false claims to the VA for his role in Scooba Shack, according to the Justice Department.
Kenneth Meers, 54, of Altamonte, Ga., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud for his roles in Scooba Shack and Diver's Den, another VA-approved scuba school.
Theresa Whitlock, 55, of St. Mary's, Ga., pleaded guilty to making false statements to the VA. She was owner of the Diver's Den in Camden County, Ga. The Justice Department statement said Diver's Den received more than $1.1 million as a result of the false claims submitted by Whitlock and Meers.
The Justice Department said Judith Lanoue was sentenced to six months in prison on Sept. 15. Robert Lanoue is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 18 and faces a maximum of five years in prison.
The remaining defendants will be sentenced at a later date. David Anderegg, and Theresa Whitlock each face a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Kenneth Meers faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.