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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Man Pleads Guilty to $480K Youth Counseling Scam

RICHMOND, Va. – A Georgia man pleaded guilty today to defrauding the City of Hopewell of approximately $480,000 and evading his personal income taxes.

According to court documents, Keith Hayes, 46, of Decatur, formed a business he named “A World of Possibilities” (WOP) in October of 2011, for the ostensible purpose of providing mentoring and counseling services to at-risk students at public schools in the City of Hopewell. At the time that Hayes created WOP, Hayes had a close personal relationship with a person identified in court documents as Co-Conspirator One, who was employed as the City of Hopewell’s Comprehensive Services Act (CSA) Coordinator. In that capacity, Co-Conspirator One was responsible for directing CSA-funded counseling contracts to service providers, and began appointing WOP as the approved service provider for a number of at-risk students in Hopewell City Public Schools. Under those contracts, Hayes was supposed to provide mentoring and counseling services to those at-risk students. However, despite the fact that WOP did not employ any counselors and never provided any services to any Hopewell student, WOP billed the City of Hopewell for $480,875 worth of counseling services between November 2011 and June 2015.

During this same time period, Hayes also evaded making any income tax payments, despite taking in more than $588,000 in income between 2011 and 2015. Hayes’s total tax evasion liability amounts to more than $169,000.

Hayes pleaded guilty to mail fraud and tax evasion and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when sentenced on August 13. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Tracy Doherty-McCormick, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Adam S. Lee, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office, and Kimberly Lappin, Special Agent in Charge, Washington, D.C. Field Office, IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), made the announcement after U.S. District Judge M. Hannah Lauck accepted the plea. Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas A. Garnett is prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:17-cr-154.

Financial Fraud
Joshua Stueve Director of Communications joshua.stueve@usdoj.gov
Updated February 27, 2018