Caldwell University to pay $4.8 million for defrauding veterans program

Caldwell University reached 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 offered online training courses for veterans in conjunction with Caldwell, Caldwell spokeswoman Colette Liddy told NJBIZ.

Unbeknownst to Caldwell’s board and cabinet, Ed4Mil staff and a university employee engaged in a scheme to defraud the government, Liddy said. The college employee quit his job at Caldwell before the scheme was discovered. A number of people at Ed4Mil, including its manager and the former Caldwell employee, pleaded guilty to criminal charges, she said.

Liddy said Caldwell University’s board and cabinet have spoken out against this conduct and, along with the administration, are truly sorry for what happened. Caldwell University has cooperated with the government throughout its investigation, she said.

“Caldwell is committed to giving back to the United States on behalf of our nation’s veterans by returning all money the University received under the Ed4Mil contract,” Liddy said. “To this end, as part of the settlement with the United States Attorney, Caldwell 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 January 1, 2011 to August 8, 2013, Caldwell University submitted false claims to the Department of Veterans Affairs in order to receive education benefits and funds under the Education Assistance Act. post-9/11 veterans’ education (after the 9/11 GI Bill) he was not entitled to, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said. He also said the post 9/11 GI bill was designed specifically to help veterans who served in the armed forces after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Three people previously pleaded guilty to separate briefs charging them with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud related to this scheme to defraud the VA, Carpenito said. Lisa DiBisceglie, former associate dean of the university’s Office of External Partnerships; David Alvey, founder and president of Ed4Mil LLC; and Helen Sechrist, a former Ed4Mil employee, have admitted their respective roles in the conspiracy to fraudulently obtain millions of dollars in tuition assistance and other education-related benefits from 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 probation. The three defendants were also ordered to pay $24 million in restitution, Carpenito said.

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