FBI raids ACT College
It was an unusual scene, outside a now shuttered medical tech school.
"We don't know if it's bankruptcy... we don't know anything", says 19-year-old Meosha Rorie, a student at the ACT College in Manassas.
Agents from the U.S. Education Department's inspector general's office, and the FBI raided offices in the school Friday afternoon.
Patty Bunner, of Gainesville was among the few to see the agents doing their work.
"To have that degree of people that showed up for this, it sounds like there was something definitely not right in there", she says.
About a dozen agents removed boxes marked 'Pell Grants' '2010' and '2011', and computers, marked as 'evidence', before loading them into vehicles, and driving away.
The raid comes ten days after the college's three campuses, in Alexandria, Arlington, and Manassas, abruptly closed.
"Oh my god, it's like a breath of fresh air... I'm so happy", exclaimed Meme Rorie, an ACT student and Meosha's mother.
Rorie says she's pleased federal authorities are investigating the school.
But she says the school's clients--the students--want to know what's going on.
"No answers as to what happened, why it happened", she says. "Basically it just was 'blame it on the Department of Education.' We knew that wasn't the truth."
The day after ACTshut its doors April 3, arriving students found posted signs saying the school had lost federal grant money.
"Very surprised, very shocked actually", remarked Mark Camper, who runs a heating and air conditioning business in the same complex as ACT's Manassas campus.
"I'd hate to find out 'oh i go to school' and then all of a sudden, 'oh, you're not going to get your certification'."
Authorities aren't commenting on what they're looking for, or why.
The inspector general's office is empowered to conduct audits, and investigate fraud and waste.
"I feel better because it's actually being handled", says Meosha Rorie.
Still, she and her mom have taken out $37,000 in loans to pay for school, and have nothing: no diploma, no transcript, to show for it.
"For me, I had two weeks left, so it's very frustrating. This school's been open for thirty years, so we think, wow, that's a good school to attend."
The school's owner, Jeff Moore, was unavailable for comment.