The scheme went on for about four years, until a student became
suspicious of the course content. The student looked up the actual cost
of the course he was taking online through the correspondence school and
alerted the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG). The VA OIG approached
the FBI to partner on an investigation.
As the scheme began to
unravel, Ed4Mil scrambled to hide their subcontracting relationship with
the correspondence school from their students and attempted to develop
their own curriculum—although this curriculum still likely would not
have met VA requirements for reimbursement.
Alvey pleaded guilty
to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and was sentenced last month to five
years in prison. He was also ordered to pay $24 million in restitution.
His two co-conspirators—one of his employees as well as the associate
dean—each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and were
sentenced to probation.
Alvey collected most of the profits
himself—more than $20 million. He bought a mansion, artwork, and
high-end cars and also started other businesses. Under his plea
agreement, any ill-gotten gains will have to be forfeited as part of the
asset forfeiture process.
Eagleeye saw the fraudsters’ actions as a flagrant abuse of veterans’—and the public’s—trust.
military members were presented with this pitch from somebody they
thought was from an accredited university. These salespeople were
allowed on the reservist post or military base by their military
superiors,” Eagleeye said. “To the soldiers, everything appeared to be
The FBI’s partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs was crucial to rooting out and stopping the corruption.
was egregious on so many fronts. The courses were overpriced, they were
not high-quality classes, and they spread them out over more months
than needed. They wasted the limited monthly entitlements of these
veterans,” said VA OIG Special Agent Jenny Walenta. “This was a very
well-run case because we worked it collaboratively. Everyone had their
own expertise, but we worked together and did our part to help each
other stop this fraud that was hurting veterans.”