SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — The owner of a San Antonio dog training and handler school was convicted of scheming to use GI Bill benefits to defraud the federal government Wednesday.
Federal prosecutors say Senior U.S. District Judge David Ezra convicted 47-year-old Bradley Croft on eight counts of wire fraud, four counts of aggravated identity theft, two counts of money laundering, and two counts of making a false tax return.
Testimony during the 10-day trial revealed that Croft provided false information in applications to the Texas Veterans Commission as early as 2013 to receive GI Bill educational benefit payments.
Croft and others had solicited veterans as students of the program, saying they could use their GI Bill benefits to pay for a dog handler’s course that cost as little as $6,500 to as much as $12,000.
From 2016 on, Croft’s company, Universal K-9, filed roughly 185 claims stating it trained 132 veterans for a total cost of $1.26 million.
Croft was featured frequently in local and national news outlets for the work he said he was doing with dogs and police agencies.
However, Croft put on his income tax returns for both 2016 and 2017 he earned $2,000 each year. That was disproved during the trial.
During the investigation, the government seized a 2017 American Eagle Motorhome, two pickup trucks, two jet skis, a trailer, $138,000 in cash and real property in the 15000 block of Tradesman in northwestern San Antonio.
Investigators also seized 26 dogs from the business, who were placed into the custody of Animal Care Services.
“Today’s guilty verdict was reached under the leadership of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and as a result of the extensive work of special agents of the VA Office of Inspector General, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, and the FBI,” stated VA-OIG Special Agent in Charge Ross. “These charges send a clear signal that any institution entrusted with the education of veterans will be held accountable for defrauding the GI Bill program.”
Croft faces up to 42 years in federal prison for all of the crimes he has been convicted of committing. The government would also like Croft to forfeit all of the assets it seized during the investigation.
San Antonio K-9 trainer charged in federal fraud scheme