oversight

Tutoring Services Corporation and 31 Individuals Indicted and Arrested for Defrauding the SES Program. San Juan, PR., September 10, 2015

Published by the Department of Education, Office of Inspector General on 2015-09-10.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report.

OIG Investigative Reports Press Release San Juan PR., 09/10/2015 - Tutoring Services Corporation and 31 Individuals Indicted and Arrested for Defrauding the SES Program
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THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY’S OFFICE
DISTRICT OF PUERTO RICO
U.S. Attorneys » District of Puerto Rico »  News
Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Puerto Rico
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 10, 2015
Tutoring Services Corporation And 31 Individuals Indicted And Arrested For Defrauding The Department Of Education
Defendants Face A Forfeiture Allegation Of $954,297.00
SAN JUAN, P.R. – On September 9, 2015, a Federal grand jury returned a seventy–four count indictment charging Rocket Learning, LLC and 31 individuals with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, mail fraud, theft of government money and property, and aggravated identity theft, announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. The Department of Education&nash;Office of Inspector General, the FBI and ICE–HSI are in charge of the investigation. The indictment was unsealed earlier today.
The indictment alleges twenty six-counts of mail fraud, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341, related to payments caused to be made via the U.S. Mail to Rocket Learning, Inc., for twenty six fraudulent invoices submitted  from 2011 – 2013 to the Puerto Rico Department of Education; one count of theft of public money, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641, related to the approximately $954,297.00 in stolen Title I Federal Funds; and forty-five counts of aggravated identity theft, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A(a)(1), related to the use of means of identification of another person by using the name and signature of real students, in relation to the theft of public money charged in the indictment.
“Individuals and businesses who choose to illegally enrich themselves at the expense of our students and the U.S. taxpayer, instead of providing the educational services invoiced, will be aggressively investigated and prosecuted by the Department of Justice,” said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. “These arrests demonstrate the combined federal commitment to combating fraud, waste and abuse. The investigation continues”.
“Supplemental Education Services program funds provide critical resources for deserving students who seek to improve their academic performance.  Today’s actions allege that these 31 individuals and the corporation they worked for, billed and retained SES payments for students who did not receive the tutoring services. That is unacceptable,” said Yessyka Santana, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General’s Southeastern Regional Office.  “Tracking down those who would cheat this important program is a priority of our office.”
The defendants are:
Rocket Learning, LLC
Brenda Pérez García – SES Director
Juan Nieves Rivera Rivera –Director of San Juan Region
José Acevedo Rivera –Director of Caguas Region
Lynnette Asencio Plaza –Director of Ponce Region
Héctor Baez Villanueva –Director of Arecibo Region
Kay Pagán Rivera – Program Manager in Caguas Region
Karenie Laborde Muñiz – Program Manager in Caguas Region
Annerys Rodríguez Aponte – Program Manager in Caguas Region
Lis García Medina – Program Manager in Caguas Region
Edjeledeira Meléndez–Rivera – Jr. Program Manager in Caguas Region
Jonathan Morales Febus – Operation Coordinator in Caguas Region
Jeannette Ramírez-Zapata – Program Manager in Ponce Region
Francisco Sánchez Zayas – Program Manager in Ponce Region
Yamaris Torres Ortiz – Program Manager in Ponce Region
Sayra López Torres – Program Manager in Ponce Region
Anita Ortiz Rodríguez – Program Manager in Ponce Region
Sheila Pagán Carrasquillo – Operation Coordinator in Ponce Region
Elba Yanira Jiménez Pérez – Program Manager in Arecibo Region
Gretchen Román Soto – Program Manager in Arecibo Region
Milliam Centeno Soto – Program Manager in Arecibo Region
Emmanuel Cruz Martínez – Program Manager in Arecibo Region
Katia Tapia Torres – Program Manager in Arecibo Region
Noraima Mercado Vázquez – Program Manager in Arecibo Region
Nayra Alicea Delgado – Program Manager in San Juan Region
Eileen Gutiérrez Stone – Program Manager in San Juan Region
Glorymar Rodríguez Casiano – Program Manager in San Juan Region
Minerva Mendoza Acevedo – Program Manager in San Juan Region
Suhayl Méndez Reyes – Program Manager in San Juan Region
Javier Reyes López – Program Manager in San Juan Region
Luisa García Arriaga – Program Manager in San Juan Region
José Sánchez Bauzá – Program Manager in San Juan Region
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Seth A. Erbe and the Chief of the Financial Fraud and Corruption Unit, José Capó–Iriarte. If found guilty, defendants are facing a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and two additional years for each aggravated identity theft count. Indictments contain only charges and are not evidence of guilt. Defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.
USAO – Puerto Rico
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Last Modified: 09/25/2015
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