Puerto Rico company accused of defrauding US tutor program

August 7, 2018

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A Puerto Rico company has been accused of fraud involving a U.S. program that provides tutoring to needy children in struggling schools.

Creative Education and Psychological Services Inc. submitted false invoices for tutoring sessions as it billed taxpayers nearly $25 million over three years, the U.S. attorney’s office said Tuesday.

A grand jury indicted the company owner and three employees on charges that include mail fraud and conspiracy to commit theft. Two of the employees entered pleas of not guilty in court Tuesday and were released on bond with restrictions that include being prohibited from working for the Puerto Rico Department of Education or any other place that has federal or state contracts.

Owner Coral Rivera Arroyo was expected to appear in court on Wednesday and the other employee on Aug. 13.

Tutoring services were authorized under the education law known as No Child Left Behind but have been criticized for a lack of oversight.

The indictment says the online tutoring program in Puerto Rico relied on a biometric system to register when students check in and out of tutoring sessions but that it could be bypassed by the contractors.

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