U.S. Department of Justice
Federal Office Building
|Contact: Harry Rodriguez
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: April 2,2008
Arrest of Individual for Pell Grant Program Fraud
On March 31, 2008, Federal Agents with the U.S. Department of Education-Office of the Inspector General and the FBI arrested, without incident, Reinaldo OrtizRosario in Corozal, Puerto Rico for his alleged participation in a scheme to falsify student records in order to receive U.S. Government student financial aid. OrtizRosario was charged in an eleven count indictment by a federal grand jury in San Juan, Puerto Rico on March 26, 2008.
OrtizRosario is charged with one count of Student Financial Aid Fraud, nine counts of Wire Fraud, and one count of Obstruction of a Federal Audit.
According to the indictment, OrtizRosario was the president and owner of Instituto Tecnológico Empresarial with two campuses located in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico and Lares, Puerto Rico. The Instituto Tecnológico Empresarial was a vocational technical institution.
On July 17, 2002, the Instituto Tecnológico Empresarial was accepted in the Program Participation Agreement relating to the Pell Grant program. As a condition to participate in this program, the students who sought Pell Grant funds had to have either a high school diploma, a general education development (GED) certificate, or had to have passed an independently administered ability to benefit test.
The indictment alleges OrtizRosario submitted to the U.S. Department of Education false GED test results for 38 students, and as a result, the Instituto Tecnológico Empresarial received approximately 80,000.00 dollars in Pell Grant funds. The indictment further alleges OrtizRosario falsified student records so as to make students who were not eligible for these funds appear to be eligible when in fact, he knew these students had neither graduated high school, obtained a GED certificate, nor passed an independently administered ability to benefit test.
In addition, during a review of the program in July 2004 by the officials with the U.S. Department of Education, OrtizRosario fraudulently portrayed that all the students were eligible for this grant when in fact; it is believed he had falsified many of the GED certificates found in the students files.
OrtizRosario had an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Justo Arenas on March 31, 2008 and was released pending a 50,000.00 dollar cash or secured bond. OrtizRosario is scheduled to have his arraignment on April 4, 2008.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Myriam Y. FernándezGonzález of the District of Puerto Rico. This investigation was conducted by the U.S. Department of EducationOffice of the Inspector General and the FBI.
The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of any guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial. The U.S. government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The public is reminded that a criminal complaint is not evidence of any guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial. The U.S. government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.