CHICAGO - A father and son duo claiming their Chicago area tutoring companies would provide individually-designed programs for low-income students pled guilty to fraud charges and were ordered to pay back the Department of Education over $11 million.
As the FBI story reports:
Although financial fraudsters target all sort of victims, perhaps the worst type of financial criminals are the ones who go after the most vulnerable. A prime example of those types of criminals? A father/son pair, the subjects of a recent FBI Chicago-led investigation, who perpetrated a multi-million-dollar fraud against the Department of Education that ended up victimizing low-income students from more than 100 public school districts in Illinois and other states.
Jowhar Soultanali, 62, and his son, Kabir Kassam, 38, ran tutoring companies in the Chicago area—Brilliance Academy, Inc., offered on-site school tutoring, while its wholly owned subsidiary Babbage Net School, Inc., provided online training. The two advertised their services mostly to schools with large numbers of low-income students. These schools were recipients of federal funding from the Department of Education earmarked for “supplemental educational services,” or tutoring.
But Soultanali and Kassam brazenly misrepresented the nature and quality of the tutoring services their companies actually provided, both in their marketing materials and in their state provider applications. The two promised to create customized tutoring programs to address students’ academic needs, pre-test and post-test students to determine where students needed help and how effective the tutoring was in providing that help, and create useful student progress reports for parents and schools.
Instead, what schools—and their students—got were mostly generic tutoring programs configured at or below students’ grade levels, partial or missing pre-test and post-test assessments that did little to help students, and fraudulent progress reports that, in some cases, were automatically generated by a computer program.
More on the story HERE.