SAN FRANCISCO – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – United Stat…

SAN FRANCISCO – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – United States Attorney Kevin V. Ryan announced that Serge Ivanov, 45, of Beverly Hills, California and Michael Solovey, 40, of Buffalo, New York pleaded guilty on November 2, 2005, to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud.

Mr. Ivanov, who was part owner of the California School of Medical Sciences, had previously been authorized to receive federal financial aid, in the form of grants and loans, for students enrolled in an ultrasound course at his school’s Beverly Hills location. Mr. Ivanov and Mr. Solovey, who at the time was manager of the Software Training Center in San Francisco, conspired to have Solovey submit to Ivanov fake financial aid applications from students taking computer courses at Solovey’s school. The applications indicated that students had taken an ultrasound course, when they never had and the students were unaware that their financial information was used to obtain federal funds for the purported ultrasound course.

According to the plea agreement, to promote the fraud and create the appearance that an ultrasound course existed, defendants manufactured and forged student signatures on forms such as student attendance records, course evaluation sheets, and even created report cards showing that these students had enrolled in and completed an ultrasound course though they never had. Mr. Ivanov and Mr. Solovey admitted to defrauding the federal government of over $400,000 dollars. Sentencing for both defendants is scheduled for February 8, 2006 in front of the Honorable Charles R. Breyer.

The prosecution is the result of a 4-year investigation by agents of the Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General; the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Services’s Criminal Investigation Division. Stacey Geis and Susan Badger are the Assistant U.S. Attorneys who prosecuted the case.

The maximum statutory penalty for violating 18 U.S.C. § 371 – conspiracy to commit mail fraud – is 5 years and a $250,000 fine, plus restitution to the Department of Education. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the Court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. 3553.

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