Owner of Chesapeake Barber College sentenced for $4.5 million GI Bill fraud

CHESAPEAKE, Va. – The Department of Justice announced Wednesday that the owner of the Chesapeake Barber College,William E. Grobes, IV,  will spend five years and three months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release for conspiring to commit wire fraud and money laundering.

William Grobes: Photo from CBBC website

Grobes, 45, was also ordered to pay $4.5 million in restitution. He has agreed to forfeit his home, six bank accounts totaling over $1 million, and nearly $200,000 in cash seized from a safe in the floor of his home.

Grobes pleaded guilty to GI Bill fraud on November 30, 2016.

According to court documents, Grobes owns the College of Beauty and Barber Culture (CBBC), located in Chesapeake.

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

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

In reality, the school was a sham. Most veterans enrolled in CBBC courses received few, if any, hours of instruction from CBBC employees, and there were no tests, exams, or practical exercises given.

Students were directed to simply sign in and out of the school each day so that Grobes could report to the VA that they were enrolled and attending.

In exchange, CBBC received Post-9/11 GI Bill tuition payments for each veteran from the VA.

Based on Grobes’ provision of false information to the VA concerning the number of hours of instruction and the manner and quality of the instruction provided to veteran students, CBBC received over $4.5 million in Post-9/11 GI Bill tuition payments between October 2011 and September 2016.

Grobes’ wife and co-conspirator, Katherine Grobes, is scheduled to be sentenced on Friday, March 10.