The former CEO of a technology education company was sentenced to five years in prison for his role in defrauding the Department of Veterans Affairs Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefit program of nearly $105 million, the largest fraud case for the program, according to a statement from the Department of Justice.

Michael Bostock, 54, of Nampa, Idaho, pleaded not guilty in September 2022 to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Bostock founded California Technical Academy, or CTA, a VA-approved school that offered technical training programs.

Investigators said the school received more than $32 million in tuition payments for nearly 1,800 veterans from 2012 to 2022. Over that same time, veterans enrolled in VA-approved courses at CTA collectively received more than $72 million in education-related government benefits.

Investigators said Bostock and his co-conspirators made “false and fraudulent representations to the VA regarding, among other things, veterans’ enrollment in approved courses of study, class attendance, and grades,” according to the release.

Bostock also falsified veterans’ contact information by using phone numbers he and his co-conspirators controlled to keep investigators from contacting the veterans and, along with his accused accomplices, impersonated students when regulators called the numbers to get information about the school, according to the Department of Justice.

“The Post-9/11 GI Bill was enacted to aid our military veterans and their families on behalf of a nation grateful for their service,” Kenneth Polite Jr., assistant attorney general for the DOJ’s criminal division, said in a release last September announcing Bostock’s guilty plea. “These frauds drain funds from a vital veterans’ program and undermine public faith in the administration of government.”

This is not the first major case of financial fraud related to GI education benefits. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, a company called Ed4Mil would target veterans and recruit them to enroll in courses that they thought were through a private liberal arts college. But the organization would charge the federal government for courses through Ed4Mil. The leader of the fraud scheme, David Alvey, pocketed more than $20 million from the effort.

The VA Office of Inspector General, aided by the Veterans Benefits Administration-Education Service, investigated the case.

Military Times could not find a name for Bostock’s attorney to reach for comment.

Bostock’s co-defendants, Eric Bostock and Philip Abod, will have their sentences handed down in October.

Eric Bostock, 47, of Riverside, California, also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in September.

Zamone “Z” Perez is a reporter at Military Times. He previously worked at Foreign Policy and Ufahamu Africa. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, where he researched international ethics and atrocity prevention in his thesis. He can be found on Twitter @zamoneperez.

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