Maryland man pleads guilty to defrauding Veterans Affairs

A Bowie, Maryland, man is facing federal time for false claims of helping
veterans with disabilities.

Sixty-three-year-old Francis Engles registered his company, Engles Security Training School, as a vendor with the Department of Veterans Affair’s Vocation Rehabilitation & Employment Program, which provides disabled U.S. military veterans with services.

He allegedly offered training courses and employment opportunities with his company to these veterans.

Engles claimed he was providing monthslong courses for 40 hours a week and over 600 total hours, when in fact, the company offered far less than what Engles told Veterans Affairs, a U.S. Department of Justice news release said.

He even submitted documentation showing that many of the veterans had certificates of completion of the courses. Prosecutors said that the veterans had not completed the courses, and some had not taken even taken them.

In addition, Engles asked veterans to sign attendance sheets for classes they had not attended. He falsely reported some veterans were employed by his private security business, as well.

Prosecutors said that Engles tried to obstruct the investigation, lying about veteran students attendance at the school and preventing an employee from producing responsive documents she had gathered.

Engles was able to collect $337,960 in total payments from the VA for the false services.

In court Tuesday, he pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and will be sentenced in April.

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