Chesapeake Barber College owner pleads guilty to $4.5M GI Bill fraud

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Katherine Grobes (Photo from CBBC website)

CHESAPEAKE, Va. – Katherine Grobes, owner of the College of Beauty and Barber Culture (CBBC), pleaded guilty Wednesday to a charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

According to a plea agreement, CBBC was a barber and cosmetology school that provided education and training to military veterans, including veterans who received tuition assistance under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The college was approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Grobes told the VA that CBBC provided full-time schooling to hundreds of veteran students beginning in October 2011.

According to the Department of Justice, the school was a sham. Most veterans enrolled in CBBC courses received only a few hours of instruction from CBBC employees. There were no tests, exams or practical exercises given.

Instead, the students were directed to sign in and out of the school each day so Grobes could tell the VA the students were enrolled and attending the college.

The school received Post-9/11 GI Bill tuition payments for each veteran from the VA.

The CBBC received over $4.5 million in payments between October 2011 and September 2016 based on Grobes’ false information given to the VA concerning the number of hours of instruction and the manner and quality of the instruction provided to veteran students.

Grobes and her husband, who also owns the business, pleaded guilty on November 30, to charges of conspiring to commit wire fraud and money laundering.

Grobes was charged by criminal information on December 2, and faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison when sentenced on March 10, 2017.