School CEO Admits Student Loan Program, Organized Bogus Class | Business Observer
FORT MYERS – A Fort Myers businesswoman who owned a school designed to improve student employability skills, admitted her role in a scheme that defrauded a federal student loan program of at least $ 90,000.
Elaine M. Levidow, 60, of Fort Myers, pleaded guilty to five counts of wire fraud and one count of fraud involving Department of Education financial aid, according to a statement.
Levidow, beginning in approximately July 2017 and continuing through April 2019, devised and implemented a scheme to defraud the US Department of Education of more than $ 90,000 in Federal Title IV Student Aid, according to the plea agreement. The program is the primary federal loan and grant funds available to students attending colleges and vocational schools. The United States Department of Education requires that Title IV funds be applied only to specific eligible expenses, including tuition, compulsory fees, and room and board contracted by participating institutions of higher education. .
Levidow, as the owner and CEO of The Training Domain in Fort Myers, used a website to market his business as offering business software application courses to make people more employable. As part of the program, Levidow knowingly enrolled students who did not have a high school diploma or GED certificate, rendering them ineligible to receive funds from the FSA, and she helped them apply for funds from the FSA. In one case, Levidow knowingly enrolled a student who was a life sentence criminal in a Florida state jail, helping him get FSA funds even though he was not eligible, says the US attorney’s office in a statement.
In other cases, officials have argued that Levidow applied for FSA loans on behalf of students without telling them, and then caused those FSA funds to be transferred to the training arena even though he didn’t. was not entitled to it.
Levidow admitted to agents that she knew many if not all of the students did not have high school diplomas or GEDs, the reissue says, but she enrolled them anyway. She also admitted that she organized a fictitious class, during an accreditation visit, with students who had not attended the classes and that she paid to be there to give the impression that she actually held classes, officials said.
âAdditionally, although Levidow’s company, Training Domain, was touted as an educational institution, it did not use FSA funds to pay student tuition fees because its company did not did not really organize the compulsory courses, âthe statement said. “Instead, Levidow used FSA funds to pay for his own personal expenses.”
Levidow faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for each count of wire fraud and up to 5 years in prison for financial aid fraud. A sentencing date has not yet been set. The Ministry of Education and the Office of the Inspector General investigated the case.