Fort Myers, Florida – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces the return of an indictment charging Elaine M. Levidow (60, Fort Myers) with 10 counts of wire fraud and one count of Federal Student Assistance fraud. If convicted, Levidow faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison for each wire fraud count and up to 5 years in federal prison for the financial aid fraud count.
According to the indictment, Levidow owned and operated the Training Domain, an educational institution in Fort Myers that held itself out as offering business software application courses to improve the employability skills of individuals. Training Domain qualified to receive U.S. Department of Education Title IV Federal Student Assistance (FSA) on behalf of students. During the approximate time period of July 2017 through April 2019, Levidow solicited students to enroll in her school and assisted them in applying for financial aid in the form of Pell Grants and Direct Student Loans. Rather than using the loan and grant proceeds to hold classes at the Training Domain and for other educational expenses, Levidow kept the FSA funds and split them with students. The amount of the fraud was approximately $109,323. The indictment also alleges that Levidow created false and fraudulent high school diplomas and GEDs for students that she provided to an auditor even though she knew that the students had either not attended the underlying high school, had not graduated, or had not received a GED.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey F. Michelland.