Truck Driving School Owner Going to Jail for $4 MILLION CDL Fraud Scheme
Los Angeles, CA – The owner of a California truck driving school who pleaded guilty last year to defrauding the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) out of more than $4 million in an elaborate commercial driver’s license (CDL) training scam is headed to prison.
On Monday, Emmit Marshall, 53, of Woodland Hills, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to serve 48 months in prison and to pay $4.1 million in restitution.
Marshall, the owner and president of Chatsworth-based Alliance School of Trucking (AST), pleaded guilty in July 2019 to five felony counts of wire fraud.
According to his plea agreement, Marshall admitted that from July 2011 until April 2015, he and co-defendant Robert Waggoner, 56, of Canyon Country, who was a director at AST, schemed to defraud the VA.
Marshall — who claims to have served in the U.S. Army from 1985 to 1989 — and Waggoner, recruited eligible veterans to take trucking classes paid for under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
AST was certified to offer classes under the Post-9/11 GI Bill that included a 160-hour Tractor Trailer & Safety class and a 600-hour Select Driver Development Program.
As part of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the VA paid tuition and fees directly to the school at which the veteran was enrolled.
The VA also paid a housing allowance to the veteran enrolled full-time in an approved program, and, in some cases, the VA paid a books and supplies benefit directly to the veteran.
Marshall admitted that Waggoner and another individual recruited eligible veterans to enroll at AST by telling the veterans they could collect housing and other fees from the VA without attending the programs.
Marshall also admitted the vast majority of veterans enrolling at AST did not intend to attend any portion of those programs.
Further, Marshall says he, along with Waggoner, created and submitted fraudulent enrollment certifications.
They also created student files that contained other bogus documents, according to his plea agreement.
When the two men became aware of the investigation into their scheme, Marshall, Waggoner and others at AST removed fraudulent documents from student files, and Marshall later ordered that these files be destroyed, the plea agreement states.
During the scam, the VA paid AST approximately $2.3 million in tuition and fee payments for veterans who purportedly attended approved programs at AST.
The VA also paid approximately $1.9 million in education benefits directly to veterans who purportedly attended approved programs at AST.
At the hearing, U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson called Marshall’s scheme “a very serious fraud on the government.”
“Marshall profited most from this conduct, pocketing nearly $1 million himself, which he used for jewelry, a cruise, a trip to Hawaii, property taxes on his Woodland Hills residence, purchase of a Ford F-150 and purchase of semi-tractor trailers for a new business,” U.S. prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memorandum.
In February of this year, Waggoner also pleaded guilty to five counts of wire fraud.
His sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 15, 2021, at which time he will face a statutory maximum sentence of 100 years in federal prison.