Crime Operator of San Antonio dog-training school to learn verdict today
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The operator of a now shuttered dog training school is expected to learn today whether he’s innocent or guilty of crimes stemming from allegations that he defrauded the GI Bill program out of more than $1.2 million.
Bradley Croft, 48, ran Universal K9 until it was shut down last year amid a federal investigation launched over claims he committed fraud to get on a state-approved list of schools military veterans could use their GI Bill benefits for. He chose to have a nonjury bench trial, and Senior U.S. District Judge David Ezra has set a hearing for this afternoon to announce his verdict.
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After a week and a half of testimony in October, Croft’s lawyers argued in closing arguments that Croft had no criminal intent to defraud the government and was simply pursuing a dream when he launched Universal K9 as a school where veterans could use their GI Bill benefits to learn how to train dogs.
The attorneys said Croft was ignorant of the bureaucratic red tape needed for his school to qualify to receive federal GI Bill benefits.
But federal prosecutors argued in their closing arguments that Croft intentionally bamboozled a state commission to accept Universal K9 as a credentialed school so he could fraudulently collect $1.2 million in tuition payments.
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The feds say he then laundered the money on personal expenses, including a luxury motor home, jet skis and a penile implant, and that he lied on his tax forms about his income.
Croft is charged with eight counts of wire fraud, four counts of aggravated identity theft, two counts of money laundering and two counts of filing a false tax return.
In August 2018, federal agents shut down Universal K9 after investigators raided its premises in the 15000 block of Tradesman as television cameras rolled. Twenty-six of the 31 dogs on the premises were taken in by the city’s Animal Control Services.
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Guillermo Contreras covers federal courts in San Antonio and international legal issues. Read him on our, mySA.com, and on our , ExpressNews.com. | | Twitter:
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