The owner of a San Fernando Valley truck driving school was sentenced Monday to four years in federal prison for a scheme to defraud the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs out of $4.1 million in education benefits.

Emmit Marshall, 53, of Woodland Hills was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson after having pleaded guilty in July 2019 to five counts of wire fraud. He was ordered to pay $4.1 million in restitution.


Marshall was the owner of Alliance School of Trucking in Chatsworth. While president of the company, Marshall and Robert Waggoner, the vice president, recruited eligible veterans to take classes paid for under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, according to a release from the U.S. attorney’s office.


Under that GI Bill, the Veterans Affairs Department paid tuition and fees directly to the school, as well as a housing allowance to veterans, plus books and supplies, the Justice Department said.


From July 2011 to April 2015, Marshall and Waggoner convinced more than 100 veterans to participate by telling them they were entitled to VA education benefits, even if they did not attend classes. Despite not taking classes, the veterans who agreed to join the scheme accepted education benefits for housing while AST collected the benefits for tuition, resulting in a total loss to the VA of at least $4.1 million, according to the Justice Department.


“(Marshall) profited most from this conduct, pocketing nearly $1 million himself, which he used for jewelry, a cruise, a trip to Hawaii, property taxes on his Woodland Hills residence, purchase of a Ford F-150 and purchase of semi-tractor trailers for a new business,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memorandum.


Waggoner pleaded guilty in February to five counts of wire fraud. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 15, at which time he will face a statutory maximum sentence of 100 years in federal prison, the Justice Department said.