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Wed Oct 18, 2017, 05:23 AM

Two Women, Including Former Associate Dean Of Caldwell University, Admit Defrauding Veterans GI Bil

https://www.justice.gov/usao-nj/pr/two-women-including-former-associate-dean-caldwell-university-admit-defrauding-veterans

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Jersey

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Two Women, Including Former Associate Dean Of Caldwell University, Admit Defrauding Veterans’ GI Bill

NEWARK, N.J. – Two women today admitted their roles in a conspiracy that fraudulently obtained over $24 million from the Post-9/11 GI Bill, a federal education benefits program designed to help veterans who served in the armed forces following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced. Lisa DiBisceglie, 56, of Lavallette, New Jersey, the former Associate Dean of the Office of External Partnerships at Caldwell University, and Helen Sechrist, 61, of Sandy Level, Virginia, a former employee of the Pennsylvania-based company Ed4Mil LLC, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Katharine S. Hayden in Newark federal court to separate informations charging them each with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
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The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides educational assistance to eligible veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces by paying for veterans’ tuition, housing costs, and other educational expenses as long as their courses meet certain criteria. Due to the fact that these tuition benefits are paid by the United States directly to the school, all entities involved in developing and administering the courses must be fully disclosed to the United States in order to assess the courses for approval. From 2009 through August 2013, Ed4Mil founder and president David Alvey, 50, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, along with DiBisceglie, Sechrist, and others, conspired to fraudulently obtain millions of dollars in tuition assistance and other education-related benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

As part of the conspiracy, DiBisceglie helped Ed4Mil get approval from Caldwell’s administration to develop and administer a series of non-credit online courses for veterans in Caldwell’s name. In order for the courses to be eligible for education benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, DiBisceglie, Alvey, and others prepared and submitted an application with the Veterans Administration stating that the courses were developed, taught, and administered by Caldwell faculty and met Caldwell’s stringent educational standards. As a result, the courses were subsequently approved, and Sechrist, Alvey, and others aggressively marketed the courses to veterans who were eligible to receive the benefits. However, Caldwell did not participate in developing or teaching the online courses. Instead, the veterans were ultimately enrolled in online correspondence courses developed and administered by a sub-contractor of Ed4Mil. Neither Ed4Mil nor its sub-contractor were disclosed to the government, and neither were eligible to receive Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.

At all times during the conspiracy, DiBisceglie, Sechrist, Alvey, and others concealed the true nature of the courses from the government and the veterans who enrolled in the courses. Thousands of veterans enrolled in the online courses believing they were taking courses from Caldwell. Altogether, the scheme caused the United States to pay over $24 million in tuition benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
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Acting U.S. Attorney Fitzpatrick credited special agents of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General, Criminal Investigation Division, Northeast field office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Neves in Newark; the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gallagher in Newark; and the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Assistant Special Agent in Charge Mayer of the Northeastern Region, with the ongoing investigation.
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