JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – A Jackson man was sentenced to serve one year and one day in prison for perpetrating a wire fraud scheme to steal federal funds.
Anthony Kelley, 60, was sentenced U.S. District Court in Jackson on Wednesday, August 17.
Prosecutors said Kelley owns Trendsetters Barber College in Jackson. Trendsetters was certified by the VA and Mississippi’s State Approving Agency to offer courses which would be covered by GI Bill benefits for veterans enrolled in the school’s programs.
Beginning at least as early as October 2016 and continuing through March 2019, prosecutors said Kelley offered a Master Barber course that was not an accredited course of study approved by the state’s Board of Barber Examiners. They said Kelley fraudulently represented that this course was an approved course of study and as a result was allowed to collect GI Bill money from veterans enrolled in the program.
At least two veterans were enrolled in the Master Barber program using their GI Bill benefits and, as a result, the VA made interstate wire transfers of federal funds to Kelley based on his fraudulent representations.
Kelley pled guilty to two counts of wire fraud on May 20, 2021. The sentence included three years of supervised release, and he was ordered to pay more than $402,000 in restitution to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.