Two California technical school executives, Michael Bostock and Eric Bostock, have pleaded guilty to defrauding the Post-9/11 GI Bill veterans education program of over $100 million.
Michael Bostock was the CEO and founder of California Technical Academy, a for-profit technical training school operating at three locations in Southern California. Eric Bostock was the director of student services.
Both Bostocks were considered school-certifying officials (SCOs) by the Department of Veterans Affairs. SCOs keep track of enrollment, attendance, and course completion by veterans, and also ensure that no more than 85% of a class’s students are funded by the VA.
The VA uses the data provided by SCOs to tabulate tuition payments to schools, and housing and other payments to eligible veterans.
From January 2012 to June 2022, California Technical Academy received over $32 million in tuition payments for 1,793 enrolled students, while over $72 million was paid towards housing benefits for veterans.
The Bostocks, along with co-conspirators, falsified enrollment, attendance, course completion, and grade records. They also reported falsely that veterans had completed their courses.
To cover up the affair, false contact information was provided to regulators, using numbers controlled by the Bostocks and their co-conspirators.
“When regulators called the falsified phone numbers to obtain information about CTA, the Bostocks and their co-conspirators would impersonate students,” the Justice Department noted.
All in all, the Bostocks defrauded the VA for approximately $104,682,860, the largest known case of Sept. 11 GI Bill fraud.
“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. These frauds drain funds from a vital veterans’ program and undermine public faith in the administration of government,” Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite Jr. said.
CTA was part of the California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools, a coalition of schools that provide specialized training in a condensed period of time to students that already know what career they want to pursue.
“Every sector has bad actors that stain the reputation of the vast majority of schools that run lawful and appropriate programs… I hope the VA does a thorough analysis of why these people slipped through the multiple reviews and audits that these programs require,” CAPPS Executive Director Robert Johnson told Military.com.
The Justice Department did not specify whether the two men are related, although public records indicate they once shared the same Utah address, according to Military.com.
Each Bostock faces up to five years in prison, and both will be sentenced at an unspecified future date.