Monmouth computer center owner sentenced for VA theft
TRENTON - The owner of the Eatontown-based Computer Insight Learning Center is sentenced to two years in prison for collecting about $2,800,000 from a government program intended to help veterans find work.
Elizabeth Honig, 52, of Marlboro, also owes more than $4,000,000 in fines and restitution, according to the office of acting New Jersey U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick. She pleaded guilty to theft of government funds.
Prosecutors asserted that Honig, whose curriculum was approved by the Veterans Administration, submitted false information while enrolling 182 former service members in the Veterans' Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP), assisting vets aged 35 to 60 to train for high-demand occupations. Most, they said, were either ineligible, or did not attend.
Honig told the court that she logged onto the application system more than 100 times regarding CILC's Business Software Applicaitons Program, certifying that she was the veteran applying for benefits and submitting false employment-status information.
The course has a 14-week duration, with an approximate individual cost of $4,000. CILC's program was approved for in-class, not on-line, purposes.
Investigators said that Honig certified that the enrollees were full-time, in-class students, while 62 lived outside New Jersey; that she gave veterans permission to fulfill fewer than the required hours, to stop attending classes, or sometimes to not attend at all; and that she hid truancies from the VA, required by law after 30 days, provided that they kept paying her monthly. They alleged that Honig triggered VA overpayments by charging about $750 monthly.
Honig is required to forfeit $1,274,154 and to pay restitution amounting to $2,831,455.
The government's case was conducted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Deborah J. Gannett and Jacob T. Elberg. Honig was represented by Eatontown attorney Evan Nappen.