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August 27, 1993 - Image 99

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-08-27

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Grand Opening

PRESTON BURKE

Feds Launch Probe
Of N.Y. Yeshivas

GALLERY

CORNER OF W. 12 MILE ROAD & HALSTED, FARMINGTON HILLS, MI

IN HALSTED VILLAGE CENTER

New York (JTA) — A local
probe of a college student
grant program at Rockland
Community College has led
to a major federal criminal
investigation of the aid pro-
gram at more than 20
yeshivas and colleges with
Judaic studies programs in
the New York area, accor-
ding to law enforcement
sources.
Fines totaling more than
$1 million have already been
levied against four yeshivas,
three of them in Monsey,
N.Y., and the fourth, which
is now closed, in Brooklyn.
Three of the schools are
alleged to have fraudulently
applied for the college stu-
dent grants by listing as ap-
plicants local high school
students. Charges against
the fourth involve alleged
forgery and other ir-
regularities in the operation
of its Israeli campus.
The amount of fraud de-
tected in the nation's stu-
dent aid programs has in-
creased from $225 million in
the fiscal year ending Sept.
30, 1992, to more than $300
million since Oct. 1, an Edu-
cation Department spokes-
woman said.
One source familiar with
the current probe, which is
focusing on Pell grants, said
the schools involved may
have bilked the federal
government out of $100 mill-
ion.
Another said the list of
schools being investigated
' "reads like a who's who of
major yeshivas."
Although all of the schools
in the current federal probe
are yeshivas or schools with
Judaic studies programs, the
spokeswoman insisted that
"we're not targeting any
particular group of schools."
But the Washington at-
torney for all four yeshivas,
Michael Brustein, said he
has "a very significant con-
cern that an inordinate
amount of the Education
Department's resources are
being focused or targeted on
Judaic schools. We think
there is unfair treatment
here."
The Education Depart-
ment spokeswoman said
there are 8,500 colleges par-
ticipating in federal tuition
aid programs, including
6,300 in the Pell grant pro-
gram, and that all are sub-
ject to annual reviews.
The cases involved in this
particular review, she said,

"show some consistency and
perhaps a possible pattern"
of abuse.
Pell grants are awarded to
students with a financial
need who have a high school
diploma, a high school
equivalency diploma or who
take a test proving that they
would benefit from a college
education. -
The spokeswoman said
that if her department's re-
view of an institution turns
up evidence of irregularities
in the disbursement of Pell
grants, the case may be
turned over to the depart-
ment's inspector general to
determine if there was any
criminal wrongdoing. If he
concludes that there might
have been, the case is re-
ferred to the Justice
Department.
Sources said the
Manhattan U.S. Attorney's
office has empaneled a grand
jury to look into the matter.
A spokeswoman for the of-
fice refused to comment, say-
ing it is standing policy not
to confirm or deny investiga-
tions.
Justice Department in-
vestigators, it has been
learned, are working with
officials of the U.S. Depart-
ment of Education in their
review of "more than 20 and
less than 100" yeshivas and
schools with Judaic studies
programs.

AMEX Bank
Is Fined

Washington (JTA) — The
Commerce Department an-
nounced this week that it
was imposing a $103,000
fine on American Express
Bank, Ltd., for allegedly
complying with terms of the
Arab boycott of Israel.
The New York-based bank,
a subsidiary of the American
Express Co., agreed to pay
the fine but did not admit or
deny that it had violated
U.S. antiboycott laws.
The Commerce Depart-
ment charged the bank with
having committed 39 alleged
violations of the Export Ad-
ministration Act and
Regulations between August
1988 and January 1992.
Among the alleged viola-
tions were 13 allegations
that the bank provided Leb-
anon and Oman with infor-
mation about business rela-
tionships with Israel, the
Commerce Department said.

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