SAN ANTONIO – A federal judge on Wednesday found the owner of a San Antonio dog training and handler school guilty of a plot to defraud the federal government and veterans.
Senior U.S. District Judge David A. Ezra convicted Bradley Lane Croft, 47, of eight counts of wire fraud, four counts of aggravated identity theft, two counts of money laundering and two counts of making a false tax return.
Trial testimony revealed that beginning in 2013, Croft provided false information in applications to the Texas Veterans Commission, including instructors’ names, certifications and training documents indicating that certain individuals would be instructors at the school, to receive GI Bill educational benefit payments.
Croft, the owner of Universal K-9, Inc., 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.
Since 2016, Universal K-9 filed approximately 185 claims relating to the education of approximately 132 veterans and totaling over $1,260,000, according to testimony.
Testimony also revealed that Croft submitted fraudulent income tax returns showing his 2016 reported income as $2,000 and his reported income as $2,000 for 2017, when he actually got substantially more income than what he reported to the IRS.
Croft faces up to 20 years in federal prison for wire fraud, up to 20 years in federal prison for money laundering and up to two years in federal prison for aggravated identity theft. A sentencing date has yet to be scheduled.
The government is also seeking the criminal forfeiture of alleged proceeds derived from Croft’s illegal scheme, including a 2017 American Eagle Motorhome, two late-model pickup trucks, two jet skis, one trailer, approximately $138,000 in cash and property located in the 15000 block of Tradesman.
On Aug. 8, 2018, federal authorities executed a search warrant at Croft's business. A total of 26 canines at the business were placed into the custody of Animal Care Services.