News and Press Releases

COLUMBUS MAN SENTENCED FOR USING STOLEN IDENTITIES TO DEFRAUD FEDERALLY FUNDED TUTORING PROGRAM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, APRIL 3, 2014
http://www.justice.gov/usao/ohs
CONTACT: Fred Alverson
Public Affairs Officer
(614) 469-5715

COLUMBUS –Ashkir Ali, 46, of Columbus was sentenced to 18 months for billing two area school districts more than $100,000 for tutoring sessions that were never provided.

Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Thomas D. Utz, Jr., Special Agent in Charge for the North Central Region of the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Inspector General and Ohio Auditor of State Dave Yost announced the sentence handed down today by U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus Jr.

Ali pleaded guilty on November 14, 2013 to one count of making false statements in invoices he sent to the U.S. Department of Education’s Supplemental Education Services Program.

“These crimes were committed in order to abuse a program set up to help central Ohio schoolchildren,” U.S. Attorney Stewart said. “We will continue to work with federal and state law enforcement to uncover and prosecute such crimes.”

“Ali’s students never learned the meaning of the word ‘sentence’ from him,” Auditor Yost said. “But he’ll have plenty of time to ponder what it means while serving his.”

“We appreciate the excellent working relationship with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and look forward to continuing our work for the cause of fiscal integrity.”

Ali owned WAISS Network Technologies. According to court documents, Ali created fraudulent forms using forged tutor, student and parent names and other information. He billed Columbus City Schools and was paid for tutoring 51 students who either never attended tutoring or who went very few times. Investigators determined the fraudulent scheme netted Ali approximately $100,000 over a two-year period.

Ali used the same method to defraud Southwestern City Schools out of approximately $20,000 in the 2010-2011 school year. Investigators did not find a single student from Southwestern City Schools who attended tutoring allegedly provided by WAISS.

Allegations surfaced of possible misconduct by providers of the Supplemental Education Services Program in January 2011.  The Auditor of State’s Special Investigations unit conducted a special audit of the Columbus City School District in June 2011. 

U.S. Attorney Stewart commended the investigation by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General and State Auditor Yost’s Special Investigations Unit, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Affeldt who prosecuted the case.

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