FastTrain Owner and Admissions Representative Convicted of Federal Student Aid Scheme
Following a 23-day trial before United States District Court Judge Joan A. Lenard, a jury convicted Alejandro Amor, the owner of a Florida for-profit college called FastTrain, of one count of conspiracy to steal government money and twelve substantive counts of theft of government money. FastTrain admissions representative Anthony Mincey was also convicted of conspiracy to steal government money.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Yessyka Santana, Special Agent in Charge, Department of Education, Office of Inspector General (ED-OIG) and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, made the announcement.
According to evidence presented at trial, starting in 2010, FastTrain admissions representatives, acting at the direction of Alejandro Amor, began recruiting potential students in low income neighborhoods in Miami-Dade, Broward, Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Duval Counties, where FastTrain’s seven campuses were located. When admissions representatives encountered potential students who were ineligible for federal student aid because they had not graduated from high school or earned a GED, the admissions representatives enrolled the potential students anyway, and coached them to lie on their applications to the United States Department of Education for federal student aid, including federal Pell Grants and Direct Loans. Often, FastTrain admissions representatives falsely promised the students they could earn their high school diplomas or GEDs at FastTrain and in some cases, FastTrain admissions representatives actually created fictitious high school diplomas on FastTrain computers. Six student witnesses identified Anthony Mincey as the admissions representative who had coached them to lie about their eligibility.
Once the applications for federal student aid had been processed, millions of dollars in Pell Grants and Direct Loans were disbursed to FastTrain bank accounts controlled by Alejandro Amor and his wife. Alejandro Amor used those funds to make payments on, among other things, his waterfront home, airplane, car, and yacht.
According to the testimony and evidence introduced at trial, Alejandro Amor routinely falsified student records, e-mails, policy memoranda, and reports of internal investigations to hide the actions of his admissions representatives and retain federal student aid on behalf of the ineligible students enrolled at FastTrain. In one instance, Alejandro Amor created a fictitious disciplinary record for an admissions representative who had been caught coaching students to lie about their eligibility, before sending that admissions representative back out onto the streets to continue recruiting.
Alejandro Amor is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Lenard on February 3, 2016, at 3:00 p.m. Anthony Mincey is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Lenard on February 3, 2016, at 3:30 p.m.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ED-OIG and the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Amanda Perwin and Vanessa Snyder.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.