SDCN Editor

A California man was sentenced to one year and a day in prison for his role in defrauding the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefit program.

According to court documents, Philip Abod, 57, of Calimesa, was a school certifying official at a school that offered VA-approved technical training programs to military veterans. Abod and his co-conspirators made false and fraudulent representations to the VA regarding, among other things, veterans’ enrollment in approved courses of study and class attendance. Abod and his co-conspirators also falsified course completion records to make it appear as if enrolled veterans completed their programs, when in fact, they had not. To conceal their scheme, Abod and his co-conspirators falsified veterans’ contact information by substituting phone numbers that Abod and his co-conspirators controlled to ensure that regulators could not contact the veterans. When regulators called the falsified phone numbers to obtain information about the school, Abod and his co-conspirators impersonated students.

From January 2012 through June 2022, the school fraudulently obtained more than $32 million in tuition payments from the VA. During the same period, the VA paid more than $72 million in education-related government benefits to veterans enrolled in VA-approved courses. In total, Abod’s and his co-conspirators’ scheme to defraud the VA resulted in a total loss of nearly $105 million in government funds.

Abod was also ordered to pay $3.4 million in restitution to the VA.

For their roles in the scheme, co-conspirator Michael Bostock, 54, of Nampa, Idaho, was sentenced to five years in prison on June 26, and co-conspirator Eric Bostock, 48, of Riverside, California, was sentenced to one year and a day in prison on Nov. 29. 

The VA Office of Inspector General investigated the case, with assistance from the Veterans Benefits Administration-Education Service.