LOS ANGELES—The former director of a San Fernando Valley trucking school was sentenced Oct. 18 to 15 months behind bars for helping to siphon more than $4 million from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) in GI Bill funds.
Robert Waggoner, 59, was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release after he is released from federal prison and pay restitution of $4.19 million to the VA, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Waggoner, of Canyon Country, pleaded guilty last year to five federal wire fraud counts.
His co-defendant, Emmit Marshall, 54, was sentenced in October last year to four years behind bars and also ordered to pay restitution. The Woodland Hills resident also pleaded guilty to five wire fraud counts.
Marshall was owner and president of the Alliance School of Trucking (AST), and Waggoner was a director at the Chatsworth school.
Marshall recruited veterans to take trucking classes paid under the post-9/11 GI Bill. AST was certified to offer classes that included a 160-hour tractor trailer and safety class and a 600-hour select driver development program.
Marshall told the veterans they wouldn’t have to attend the classes, but could still collect housing and books fees supplied by the VA, while tuition payments were disbursed directly to the school, according to prosecutors.
Knowing that the vast majority of veterans enrolling at AST did not intend to attend any portion of the programs, Marshall and Waggoner created and submitted bogus enrollment certifications and student files that contained counterfeit documents, according to documents filed in Los Angeles federal court.
From the end of 2011 through April 2015, as a result of the scheme, the VA paid AST about $2.35 million in tuition and fee payments for veterans who purportedly attended approved programs at AST, according to the April 2017 indictment.
During that same period, the VA also paid roughly $1.96 million in education benefits directly to veterans who purportedly attended approved programs at AST, according to federal prosecutors.