An Idaho man was sentenced today to five years in prison for his role in defrauding the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefit program, in the department’s largest Post-9/11 GI Bill fraud case.
According to court documents, Michael Bostock, 54, of Nampa, was the founder and CEO of California Technical Academy (CTA), a VA-approved school that offered technical training programs at three locations near Los Angeles and San Diego. From January 2012 through June 2022, 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. Bostock and his co-conspirators also falsified course completion records to make it appear as if enrolled veterans completed their programs, when in fact, they had not. In order to conceal their scheme, Bostock and his co-conspirators falsified veterans’ contact information by substituting phone numbers that Bostock and his co-conspirators controlled to ensure that regulators could not contact the veterans. When regulators called the falsified phone numbers to obtain information about the school, Bostock and his co-conspirators impersonated students.
During the fraud scheme, the school received more than $32 million in tuition payments for approximately 1,793 veteran enrollees. During the same period, veterans enrolled in CTA’s VA-approved courses received over $72 million in education-related government benefits. In total, Bostock’s and his co-conspirators’ scheme to defraud the VA resulted in a total loss of nearly $105 million in government funds.
Co-defendants Eric Bostock and Philip Abod are scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 19 for their roles in the scheme. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and VA Inspector General Michael J. Missal made the announcement.
The VA Office of Inspector General investigated the case, with assistance from the Veterans Benefits Administration-Education Service.
Trial Attorneys Lauren Archer and Christina McGill of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section prosecuted the case.