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Driving school owner allegedly scammed VA out of $4M in vet tuition

The owner of a California trucking school and one of its operators have been arrested on charges that they fleeced more than $4 million from the Department of Veteran Affairs in GI Bill funds for classes that veterans never attended.

According to an April 6 federal indictment, Alliance School of Trucking owner Emmit Marshall, 50, of Woodland Hills, and the school's director, Robert Waggoner, 54, of Canyon Country, enrolled veterans to attend the school and instructed the, to claim tuition and fees funding from the VA through the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

The pair then 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.

The indictment alleges that Marshall and Waggoner created student files with fake documents and submitted bogus enrollment certifications, netting the school $2.35 million in tuition fees and another $1.96 million in education benfits — like housing and, in some cases, books — paid to veterans from 2011 to 2015.

"The VA offers generous benefits to veterans who have put their lives on the line to safeguard America," said acting U.S. Attorney Sandra R. Brown in a statement. "Fraud schemes, particularly those involving schooling for veterans, compromise the system designed to help veterans after they complete their service. Taxpayers who fund these programs also suffer when benefit programs are subject to waste, abuse and fraud."

Agents with the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Inspector General arrested Waggoner on April 13 and Miller was scheduled to turn himself in on April 18.

The pair is expected to be arraigned in U.S. District Court for the District of Central California on a nine-count indictment of wire fraud. If convicted, Miller and Waggoner could face a maximum 20-year sentence in federal prison for each count.

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