School Owner And Ceo Indicted In Connection With Federal Financial Aid Scheme
BATON ROUGE, LA - United States Attorney Walt Green announced today that a federal grand jury has returned an indictment against ALDEN HALL, age 57, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The Indictment charges HALL with four counts of theft of government funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641, one count of fraudulently obtaining financial assistance funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1097(a), one count of engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1957, and one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A(a)(1). The Indictment also includes a forfeiture allegation related to proceeds of the offenses.
The Indictment alleges that HALL, the owner and Chief Executive Officer of Alden’s School of Cosmetology and Alden’s School of Barbering in Baker, Louisiana, engaged in a scheme to steal Title IV funds, specifically, Pell Grant funds, from the Department of Education (“DOED”). As part of the alleged scheme, the Indictment alleges that HALL caused misrepresentations to be submitted to the DOED, including that certain students were enrolled in Pell Grant-approved programs of instruction when HALL knew that they were actually in programs of instruction which did not qualify for Pell Grants. The Indictment further alleges that HALL concealed from enrolling students that certain programs offered by her schools did not qualify for Pell Grants, and that HALL caused false and forged documents to be submitted as part of certain students’ financial aid packages for the purpose of qualifying students for Pell Grants. During a Program Review by the DOED, the Indictment further alleges that HALL concealed her school’s barbering program, which did not qualify for Pell Grants, by moving barbering students from a barbering classroom into a cosmetology classroom, giving barbering students badges that identified them as cosmetology students, and instructing her barbering instructors to not appear at the school during the DOED Program Review.
The Indictment also alleges that HALL caused misrepresentations to the DOED about the number of hours that certain students had attended class and further that certain individuals were students at the school when, in fact, such individuals had never attended class. The financial aid scheme, as alleged in the Indictment, resulted in HALL and her businesses fraudulently receiving over $100,000 in federal funds.
The Indictment further alleges that in the course of the scheme, HALL transferred criminally derived property of a value greater than $10,000 by causing a transfer of $50,000 from a bank account to a check issued to herself on or about December 21, 2011.
Finally, the Indictment alleges that during and in relation to the scheme, HALL used the social security number of another person to steal and embezzle Pell Grant funds in or about June of 2012.
This matter is being handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana and the U.S. Department of Education – Office of the Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Internal Revenue Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ryan Crosswell.
NOTE: An indictment is an accusation by the Grand Jury. The defendant is presumed innocent until and unless adjudicated guilty at trial or through a guilty plea.