FastTrain Owner and Admissions Representative Sentenced to Prison for Federal Student Aid Scheme
On May 2, 2016, Alejandro Amor, the owner of a Florida for-profit college called FastTrain, was sentenced to 97 months in prison by United States District Court Judge Joan A. Lenard, after having been convicted by a federal jury of orchestrating a conspiracy to steal government money and in fact stealing government money. FastTrain admissions representative Anthony Mincey was previously sentenced to 33 months in prison for his participation in the conspiracy.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Yessyka Santana, Special Agent in Charge, Department of Education, Office of Inspector General (ED-OIG) and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, made the announcement.
According to evidence presented at trial, starting in 2010, FastTrain admissions representatives, acting at the direction of Alejandro Amor, began recruiting potential students in low income neighborhoods in Miami-Dade, Broward, Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Duval Counties, where FastTrain’s seven campuses were located. When admissions representatives encountered potential students who were ineligible for federal student aid because they had not graduated from high school or earned a GED, the admissions representatives enrolled the potential students anyway, and coached them to lie on their applications to the United States Department of Education for federal student aid, including federal Pell Grants and Direct Loans. Often, FastTrain admissions representatives falsely promised the students they could earn their high school diplomas or GEDs at FastTrain and in some cases, FastTrain admissions representatives actually created fictitious high school diplomas on FastTrain computers. Six student witnesses identified Anthony Mincey as the admissions representative who had coached them to lie about their eligibility.
Once the applications for federal student aid had been processed, millions of dollars in Pell Grants and Direct Loans were disbursed to FastTrain bank accounts controlled by Alejandro Amor and his wife. Alejandro Amor used those funds to make payments on, among other things, his waterfront home, airplane, car, and yacht.
According to the testimony and evidence introduced at trial, Alejandro Amor routinely falsified student records, emails, policy memoranda, and reports of internal investigations to hide the actions of his admissions representatives and retain federal student aid on behalf of the ineligible students enrolled at FastTrain. In one instance, Alejandro Amor created a fictitious disciplinary record for an admissions representative who had been caught coaching students to lie about their eligibility, before sending that admissions representative back out onto the streets to continue recruiting.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ED-OIG and the FBI. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Amanda Perwin and Vanessa Snyder.