SAN ANTONIO – The owner of a Northwest Side dog training and handler school, Universal K-9, has been indicted by a grand jury on multiple charges of money laundering, fraud and identity theft.
Officials with the United States Attorney's Office said Bradley Croft, 46, defrauded the federal government by using GI Bill benefits to train service canines and their handlers.
Croft was indicted on eight counts of wire fraud, four counts of aggravated identity theft and two counts of money laundering.
Federal officials said Croft began his scheme in 2013 by providing false information on applications, including instructors' names, certifications and training documents, to receive GI Bill educational benefit payments.
Croft and others solicited veterans as students indicating that they could use their GI Bill benefits to pay for a dog handler’s course that cost from $6,500 for the K-9 handler dual-purpose detection program to $12,000 for the K-9 trainer/instructor program, the indictment said.
Since 2016, the indictment said Universal K-9 filed around 185 claims relating to the education of about 132 veterans, totaling more than $1.26 million.
Officials said the federal government is looking to seize Croft's 2017 American Eagle Motorhome, two pickup trucks, two jet skis, a trailer, about $140,000 and property that was all purchased through Croft's illegal scheme.
The indictment comes less than three weeks after the FBI raided Universal K-9 on Aug. 8, resulting in 26 dogs being removed from the training school by Animal Care Services.
On the day of the raid, District 8 councilman Manny Pelaez said the canines found inside the facility were not the kind of dogs that are expected to be part of a security training organization.
Croft could face more than 40 years in federal prison.