Licking County Man Pleads Guilty To Defrauding Project Hire, A Federally Funded Job Training Program
Public Affairs Officer
COLUMBUS – Eric M. Rader, 36, of Johnstown, Ohio pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of conspiracy to commit fraud for submitting fraudulent bills in connection with a federally funded job training program.
Carter M. Stewart, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Robert Hughes, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and James Vanderberg, Special Agent-in-Charge of the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations announced the plea entered today before U.S. District Judge Michael H. Watson.
According to court documents, Rader was a recruiter and apprenticeship manager for Building Trades Institute (BTI) in Delaware, Ohio from February 2009 to December 2010. BTI receives funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for Project HIRE, an initiative to help connect and incentivize employers in targeted growth industries who had current job openings to hire dislocated workers who had or were close to having the necessary skills to fill those positions.
Rader forged the signature of an officer of a job leasing company official on a letter claiming jobs existed for people who were to receive solar panel installation training through BTI knowing that such jobs did not exist.
Rader sent an invoice for $66,000 to the program. The invoice had the names of students who had received training prior to Project HIRE starting, making them ineligible for Project HIRE funds. The students never received solar panel installation training which would have resulted in an Industry Recognized Certificate (IRC), which was a requirement of Project HIRE.
Rader pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, which is punishable by up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and three years of supervised release. The plea agreement also calls for Rader to make restitution.
The court will conduct a pre-sentence investigation before determining the sentence and schedule a date for sentencing.
U.S. Attorney Stewart said the investigation is continuing and commended the investigation by Department of Labor and FBI agents, and Financial Crimes Chief Brenda S. Shoemaker, who is representing the United States in this case.