Creative Educational And Psychological Services, Inc., A Tutoring Services Corporation, And Four Individuals Indicted And Arrested For Defrauding The Department Of Education
SAN JUAN, P.R. – On August 1, 2018, a Federal grand jury returned a seven-count indictment charging Creative Educational and Psychological Services, Inc., the president of the corporation Coral Rivera-Arroyo, and three other employees with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, mail fraud, conspiracy to commit theft and conversion of government money and property, and theft of government money and property, announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. The Department of Education- Office of Inspector General, and the FBI are in charge of the investigation with the assistance of the Puerto Rico Comptroller’s Office.
The indictment alleges that from in or about 2011 through in or around 2014, defendants Rivera-Arroyo, Frankil González-Pagán, Dennys Alfredo Soto, and Myrnaliz Navarro-Rodríguez engaged in a conspiracy and scheme to defraud by invoicing and charging the Puerto Rico Department of Education (PR DOE) for services that were not rendered or were not payable under Creative’s contract with PR DOE. The scheme included falsely reporting to PR DOE that Creative had provided Supplemental Educational Services (SES) tutoring for specific hours to specific students when, in fact, not all of the invoiced services for SES tutoring had been provided to all of the students.
The conspiracy and scheme to defraud included, but was not limited to the fabrication of false biometric attendance records; false records supporting manual attendance entries; false records supporting the notification of the post-test; and forging the signatures of students, parents, and teachers in the records.
During the duration of the conspiracy, Creative Educational and Psychological Services, Inc., through its employees and/or contractors, knowingly caused the PR DOE to issue approximately 32 checks payable to Creative totaling $24,927,125.56 in Title I funds in payment of invoices containing and supported by materially false information and forged signatures.
“Supplemental Education Services program funds provide critical resources for deserving students who seek to improve their academic performance. Individuals and businesses who choose to illegally enrich themselves at the expense of our students and the U.S. taxpayer, instead of providing the educational services invoiced, will be aggressively investigated and prosecuted by the Department of Justice,” said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. “These arrests demonstrate the combined federal commitment to combating fraud, waste and abuse”.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Seth A. Erbe. If found guilty, defendants are facing a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Indictments contain only charges and are not evidence of guilt. Defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.