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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 14, 2004

United States Attorney
Western District of Wisconsin
(608) 264-5158
TTY (608) 264-5006

Contact Person:
Stephen Ehlke
Peter M. Jarosz
Assistant United States Attorney
(608) 264-5158

School Administrator Guilty of Federal Grant Fraud

Madison, Wisconsin - Stepehen P. Sinnott, First Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Thomas Flaschberger of Hayward , Wisconsin, DOB: 3/21/1950, was found guilty yesterday evening of three counts of mail fraud in United States District Court in Madison after a two day jury trial. United States District Judge John C. Shabaz scheduled sentencing for March 30, 2004, at 1:15 p.m. Flaschberger faces a maximum sentence of twenty years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count. The defendant will also be ordered to pay restitution.

The trial established that Thomas Flaschberger was employed by the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College in Hayward, Wisconsin and acted as the Administrator of Perkins Grants for the Consortium of Indian Controlled Community Colleges. Perkins Grants are federal education funds, administered through the state, and distributed to schools and school districts who have a certain number of disadvantaged students and provide services for those students such as counseling and guidance, assistance with test taking, and weekly evaluations.

In 1994, the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College and the College of Menominee Nation entered into an agreement to obtain and share Perkins Grants because each school, by itself, did not have a sufficient number of qualified students to obtain the grants. From 1994 through 2001, the consortium received over $900,000 in Perkins Grants.

By 1995, the defendant, Thomas Flaschberger was placed in charge of the grants. In that capacity, he certified to state officials the number of qualified students at the school and that services were being provided. An audit conducted in 2001 discovered that the student numbers between 1997 and 2001 were being grossly inflated - in some cases they were nearly doubled. In addition, virtually none of the services required by the grant were being provided to the students.

First Assistant United States Attorney, Stephen P. Sinnott, wished to emphasize the importance of the conviction: "Flaschberger's crimes directly attacked the integrity of crucial federal educational programs. He victimized those students at the Lac Courte Oreilles Community College who did not receive the important educational support they should have received. In addition, he victimized students at other colleges since by his crimes he took money which otherwise would have been available to assist them in their education."

The charges against Thomas Flaschberger were the result of an investigation conducted by the Department of Education, Office of the Inspector General - Investigative Services. The prosecution was handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Stephen Ehlke and Peter M. Jarosz.


 
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Last Modified: 03/03/2005