A Maryland man was sentenced this week to two and a half years in prison for defrauding a US Department of Veterans Affairs program meant to rehabilitate veterans with disabilities.
Francis Engles, 65, owned and operated Engles Security Training School. In 2015, it became an approved vendor of the Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment program, which helps disabled veterans explore employment and training options. Engles’ company obtained more than 80% of its revenue from the VA from that point on. Engles falsely claimed to be providing veterans with “months-long courses for 40 hours per week and over 600 total hours,” according to a press release from the Department of Justice.
The VA paid Engles $337,960 to educate veterans. In reality, the company offered just a few hours of class per day and some veterans didn’t attend more than one class, according to the DOJ. Engles nonetheless instructed veterans to sign attendance sheets for classes they had not taken and submitted letters to the VA falsely stating that veterans were employed by his security business, prosecutors said.
Engles also “attempted to obstruct the investigation into his fraud,” the DOJ said, lying during an interview with federal agents and preventing his employee from producing documents in response to a grand jury subpoena.
In addition to prison time, Engles has been ordered to pay $150,000 in restitution.