Coach pleads guilty to fraud

first_imgThe plea agreement called for the dismissal of all 26 counts and the addition of a 27th count – falsifying government documents between July 7, 1999, and March 27, 2002, Torrealba said. He will receive a two-year suspended prison sentence and five years’ probation, Torrealba said. In addition, he must pay $70,758 to the U.S. Department of Education, which reflects the amount awarded as a result of fraudulent dependency overrides. And he must pay Cerritos College $20,799, the amount the college lost by charging in-state tuition to out-of-state players. During his probation period, Torrealba said, the defendant also must attend a conference at the Josephson Institute of Ethics in Los Angeles and will be prohibited from accepting employment that would require him to handle public money. wendy.russell@presstelegram.com (562) 499-1272160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! BELLFLOWER – You could say that Patrick Callahan took one for the team. The former Cerritos College assistant coach pleaded guilty Tuesday to falsifying government documents so that 13 of his football players could receive more than $91,000 in federal aid to which they were not entitled. As part of a plea bargain announced before Bellflower Superior Court Judge Leland Tipton, Callahan agreed to serve 90 days in jail, give up his job at the college, attend an ethics seminar and pay back the money fraudulently awarded to players between 1999 and 2002. No players were charged. Callahan, 58, will appear back in court Oct. 27 for sentencing and is scheduled to begin his jail term in November, said Deputy District Attorney Leonard Torrealba, who prosecuted the case. “He actually didn’t receive the benefits of the money,” Torrealba said of Callahan. “The students did. But he was in a position where he was teaching them how to cheat and teaching them how to break the law.” Callahan and his attorney, John Barnett, declined to comment. Dressed for court in a blue suit, his hair and beard trimmed short, Callahan answered a series of questions before entering his guilty plea Tuesday. Specifically, he admitted that he helped submit fraudulent documents to Cerritos College for the purpose of obtaining “dependency overrides” and in-state tuition for out-of-state football players. Dependency overrides allow students who are estranged from their parents to receive federal Pell Grants without providing their families’ financial information. Pell Grants are a form of financial aid given on the basis of economic need and can provide students up to $4,000 a year. Callahan served as an assistant coach at Cerritos for 16 seasons, most recently acting as defensive coordinator, before being charged in August 2005 with 26 felony counts of grand theft and conspiracy to commit grand theft. At the time of his arrest, the college suspended Callahan from coaching and made him coordinator of student activities – the position he must now relinquish. last_img

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