American Commercial Colleges, Inc. and its president plead guilty to federal charges

Published: May. 22, 2014 at 7:37 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - American Commercial Colleges Incorporated and its president have pleaded guilty to federal charges Thursday.

Agents raided the Lubbock campus back in November of 2011. They filed charges against the college and president Doyle Sheets last week.

Investigators say the college was not in compliance with rules governing Federal Student Aid. The college cannot receive more than 90% of it's revenue from the student aid program. But, authorities say that between 2007 and 2009 college employees had students obtain short-term loans from a private bank to make it look like they were in compliance. Investigators say the college then repaid the loans with federal aid money, amounting to $972,794.

On Thursday, Sheets pleaded guilty to theft of public money and aiding and abetting on behalf of the college. He also pleaded guilty to knowing this was happening and not reporting it. The official charge is misprision of a felony.

Sheets, 58, of Lubbock, faces a maximum statutory penalty of three years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. ACC faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years' probation, a $500,000 fine, or up to twice the gross gain or loss resulting from the offense.

Sentencing has not yet been scheduled.

According to ACC's plea agreement with the government, ACC is excluded, directly and indirectly from participating in any FSA programs. This voluntary exclusion is also a voluntary debarment, and ACC will not contest any actions taken to execute the debarment. ACC agrees that it will not have any ownership or interest in, or serve as an officer, director or any legal entity acting as a post-secondary educational institution participating in any FSA program.

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