Maryland Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges in Fraudulent Billing Scheme Targeting D.C. Public Schools
Vendor Falsely Claimed to be Aiding Students With Special Needs
WASHINGTON – Charles E. Scott, Jr., a vendor who claimed to be providing tutoring and mentoring services for students with special needs, pled guilty today to federal charges stemming from a scheme in which he collected more than $75,000 from the District of Columbia Public Schools for work that never was performed.
The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu, Andrew W. Vale, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and District of Columbia Inspector General Daniel W. Lucas.
Scott, 38, of Baltimore, Md., pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to mail fraud and identity theft. Mail fraud carries a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison and identity theft carries a statutory maximum of 15 years. Both charges carry potential financial penalties. Under federal sentencing guidelines, Scott could face a sentence of 15 to 27 months in prison and a fine. The plea agreement also requires him to pay $75,398 in restitution to the District of Columbia Public Schools and an identical amount in a forfeiture money judgment. The Honorable Rudolph Contreras scheduled sentencing for July 5, 2018.
According to a statement of offense filed as part of the plea, the scheme took place from approximately February 2013 through December 2013. During that time, Scott submitted invoices, timesheets and other documents to the Office of Special Education, a component of the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). The Office of Special Education manages the school system’s Compensatory Education Program.
The Compensatory Education Program awards services to eligible students to assist with their educational needs and development. Students awarded compensatory education services have learning, mental, and/or behavioral disabilities that create an educational barrier that prevents them from reaping the full benefits of education. Services consist of tutoring, individualized education, monitoring, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and behavioral and psychological analysis. Once DCPS approves specific services, parents or guardians receive letters specifying the services that can be provided and it is up to the parent or guardian to identify an independent provider to perform the authorized services.
Scott’s invoices included the names and dates of birth for 10 minor children for whom he claimed to have performed services. The accompanying timesheets included what purported to be the signatures of the parents or guardians whose children had purportedly received the services as well as the signatures of the tutors who supposedly did the work. Nearly all of what purported to be signatures of the parents and guardians were forged. Tutors’ signatures also were forged.
Scott did not have permission to use the names and dates of the children listed on his invoices and did not have approval from parents or guardians to sign their names.
All told, Scott obtained a total of $75,398 for services that were never performed. In addition, the District of Columbia disputed and never paid him for $20,314 worth of invoices and timesheets that he submitted for services that never were performed.
In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Liu, Assistant Director in Charge Vale, and Inspector General Lucas commended the work of those who investigated the case from the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the District of Columbia Office of the Inspector General. They also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane Lucas, who is handling forfeiture issues, Assistant U.S. Attorney Adrienne Dedjinou, and Paralegal Specialists Joshua Fein, Aisha Keys, and Kristy Penny. Finally, they expressed appreciation for the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter C. Lallas, who is prosecuting the case.