A Columbus man faces up to 7 years in prison for billing the Columbus City and Southwestern City schools of over 120 thousand dollars for tutoring services that were never provided.
46-year old Ashkir Ali pleaded guilty to defrauding the federal Supplemental Education Services program by submitting forms with forged tutor, student and parent names and other information. Prosecutors say Ali and his company, WAISS Networks Technologies, billed Columbus City Schools 100 thousand dollars for tutoring 51 students who never or only rarely received services. Prosecutors say he billed Southwestern City Schools 20 thousand dollars for similar services, but investigators say they failed to find a single student who was tutored by the company. State Auditor David Yost's office began investigating allegations of fraud in the Columbus schools' contract with WAISS on June 2011. Ali has pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements, which carries a penalty of up to 5 years in prison, and one count of aggravated identity theft, which carries a consecutive sentence of up to 24 months.