Federal Judge Orders Bradley Croft, Owner of Dog Training/Handler School in San Antonio, to Forfeit Proceeds from Government Fraud Scheme
In San Antonio today, a federal judge ordered 48-year-old Bradley Lane Croft, owner of Universal K-9, Inc., to forfeit over one million dollars in assets derived from his scheme to defraud the federal government with respect to the use of GI Bill benefits to train service canines and their handlers, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash; FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division; Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Special Agent in Charge Richard D. Goss, Houston Field Office; and, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) Criminal Investigations Division Special Agent in Charge James Ross, South Central Field Office.
Senior U.S. District Judge David A. Ezra ordered that Croft forfeit to the government his assets including: his San Antonio business property (15000 block of Tradesman); $138,415.64 in U.S. Currency seized from his bank account; $4,300 in U.S. Currency seized on site at Universal K-9; a 2017 American Eagle 45T Motorhome (valued at over $450,000); a 2018 Ford F-150 King Ranch Lariat; a 2017 Dodge Ram 1500 Laramie; a 2016 Yamaha Superjet Ski; a 2008 Yamaha Waverunner Jetski; and, a 2012 Rocket International Trailer. Judge Ezra also granted the government’s motion for a money judgment in the amount of $1.3 million.
On November 6, 2019, Judge Ezra convicted Croft of eight counts of wire fraud, four counts of aggravated identity theft, two counts of money laundering and two counts of making a false tax return. Testimony provided at trial revealed that beginning in 2013, Croft provided false information in applications to the Texas Veterans Commission, including instructors’ names, certifications and training documents indicating that certain individuals would be instructors at the school, to receive GI Bill educational benefit payments. Croft and others solicited veterans as students indicating that they could use their GI Bill benefits to pay for a dog handler’s course that cost from $6,500.00 for the K-9 Handler dual-purpose detection program to $12,000.00 for the K-9 trainer/instructor program. Since 2016, Universal K-9 filed approximately 185 claims relating to the education of approximately 132 veterans and totaling over $1,260,000.00. Testimony also revealed that Croft submitted fraudulent income tax returns showing his 2016 reported income as $2,000 and his reported income as $2,000 for 2017. Evidence showed that Croft actually received substantially more income than what he reported to the IRS in 2016 and 2017.
Croft, who remains in federal custody, faces up to 20 years in federal prison for wire fraud, up to 20 years in federal prison for money laundering and up to two years in federal prison for aggravated identity theft. Sentencing is scheduled for 1:30pm on February 24, 2020, in San Antonio before Judge Ezra.
The FBI, IRS-CI, and the VA-OIG investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gregory J. Surovic and Fidel Esparza, III, are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.