SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has filed a criminal complaint alleging 38 individuals defrauded the United States Veterans Administration (VA) out of $4.3 million. According to the complaint, five of the charged defendants operated the Alliance Trucking School in Chatsworth, California, and falsely claimed to have enrolled veterans as students to obtain commercial driver’s licenses. The school received tuition payments from the VA for nonexistent classes. The complaint also charged other individuals who received a variety of VA benefits — often exceeding $50,000 per individual — based on their enrollment in the trucking school even though they never attended or completed classes. The complaint was filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court.
“This action would not have been possible without the collaborative working relationship between state and federal authorities,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Thirty-eight individuals tried to get away with defrauding the Veterans Administration, but they will now have to face a criminal complaint filed by my Office. We look forward to making our case in the court of law, and we will continue to vigorously prosecute those who seek personal profit by defrauding our veterans.”
The investigation was conducted by the VA's Office of Inspector General Criminal Investigations Division with the assistance of the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General. The case is now in the hands of the California Department of Justice for prosecution.
“This filing is a display of the dedication and collaboration between our law enforcement partners to help protect the integrity of our federal programs and prevent abuse of a benefit meant for our veterans,” stated James K. Cheng, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General’s Los Angeles Field Office.
It is important to note that a criminal complaint contains charges that are only allegations against a person. Every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
A copy of the complaint filed today is attached to the electronic version of this release at oag.ca.gov/news.