IT school owner pleads guilty to over $2M bribery plot involving VA disabled vets program

Judge's gavel (MGN Online file photo)

The owner of a D.C.-area non-accredited information technology school pled guilty to bribing a Department of Veterans Affairs official in a scheme of over $2 million connected to the VA's disabled veterans program.

Albert S. Poawui, 41, pled guilty to information alleging one count of bribing a public official, according to a release from the Department of Justice.

In August 2015, Poawui and a counselor with the VA's Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) set up an agreement for the IT owner to pay the counselor a seven percent cash bribe of all payments made by the VA to Poawui's company Atius.

The release states the VRE program offers disabled veterans education and employment-related services.

Between Aug. 2015 and Dec. 2017, Poawui and the other individuals involved in the scheme caused the VA to pay Atius over $2.2 million. Poawui paid one of the VR&E counselors over $150,000 in the bribery scheme, the DOJ states.

According to the release, in exchange for the payments, VR&E counselors guided vets in the program to Atius and approved the IT company's invoices for payments.

Poawui said that the counselor and another VR&E counselor approved payments with the IT company to enhance the amount of money made from the scheme.

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