The CEO of a defunct California technical school was sentenced to five years in prison for his role in defrauding the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs of nearly $105 million, in what is considered the department’s largest post-9/11 GI Bill fraud case.
The Justice Department (DOJ) announced the sentencing in a press release Monday, stating that between January 2012 and June 2022, California Technical Academy (CTA) founder and CEO Michael Bostock, 54, of Nampa, Idaho, and his co-conspirators — Eric Bostock and Philip Abod — falsely reported veteran enrollment numbers, posed as veterans on phone calls with regulators, and manipulated records to appear veterans were completing courses.
Bostock pleaded guilty to the fraud scheme in September 2022.
The defendant’s school was VA-approved and offered technical training to veterans at three locations, including San Diego and Los Angeles.
Bostock and his co-defendants were found guilty of making false representations to the VA about veteran enrollment in approved courses of study, grades and class attendance, among other things.
They also falsified records to show veterans enrolled in the programs completed the course work when they had not.
The DOJ said the trio concealed the scheme by using phony contact information using phone numbers they controlled, so VA regulators could not reach the veterans, so when the regulators called to get information about the school, Bostock and his co-conspirators impersonated students.
Over the course of 10 years, the school took in over $32 million in tuition payments for the nearly 1,800 enrolled veterans.
In addition to the $32 million, the veterans enrolled in the school’s VA-approved courses received more than $72 million in government-provided education-related benefits. In total, the scheme operated by Bostock and his co-conspirators resulted in a nearly $105 million loss for the VA.
Eric Bostock and Abod are expected to be sentenced Oct. 19 for their roles in the CTA scheme.