NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — The owner of a sham welding school in Newport News is facing more than three years in prison for his role in a conspiracy that defrauded the Department of Veterans Affairs for $1.4 million.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Tuesday that 54-year-old Dr. Wilbert J. McNair owned Hampton Roads Skills Center (HRSC), which was purported to be a welding training facility approved by the VA.
The school was advertised as a place to teach and train military veterans — including veterans who received tuition assistance under the post-9/11 GI Bill.
Prosecutors said the school contracted with two other federally-funded agencies to provide welding training for students who were getting tuition assistance.
However, most veterans who went to the school got few — if any — education. Most students were not physically present at the school when classes were purported to be happening.
Prosecutors said the school got over $1.4 million in VA tuition payments from March 2013 and June 2017. He was sentenced Tuesday to three years and four months in prison.