Bible College Accused of Withholding Aid

     ATLANTA (CN) – Officers and board members of an Atlanta college withheld federal financial aid from students and lied about it, a student says in court.
     Carver Bible College student Donovan Gardner filed a class action lawsuit against the school and its personnel in the Atlanta Federal Court on Tuesday.
     The 30-page complaint alleges the college’s president and chief financial officer, Robert W. Crummie, Sr., and other school officers defrauded Gardner and other students out of receiving their financial aid and falsely blamed the U.S. Department of Education for withholding the funds.
     The other defendants are Board of Trustees member Thomas G. Fritz, Chairman of the Board Frank Oakley and Vice President of Business Affairs Terry Alexander.
     “In advancing their fraudulent scheme, the Officers represented to the students that the federal student loans would be properly applied to educational expenses, and any refunds of the federal student loans would be properly disbursed to the students,” the complaint says.
     According to the complaint, Crummie “falsely blamed the DOE, indicating that Carver was ‘waiting for their approval to release the rest of the funds.'”
     But the DOE sang a different tune and indicated that the “Department did not instruct Carver College personnel to freeze the disbursement of school refunds to the students,” Gardner says.
     “As a result of their fraudulent scheme, Defendants have accumulated funds that rightfully belong to Plaintiff,” the complaint continues. “To this day, those funds continue to be withheld from Plaintiff.”
     Carver’s officers are accused of using the United States Postal Service and email to execute their scheme.
     Gardner says he was approved to receive more than $14,000 in federal financial aid, as was fellow student Alethea Hutchinson.
     “Despite being awarded federal student financial aid, neither Plaintiff Gardner nor Hutchinson received proper disbursement of the federal student financial aid,” the complaint states.
     Instead, Crummie sent Gardner and other students a series of letters, in which he blamed the DOE for the funds not being disbursed.
     In a letter sent to students on Jan. 5, Crummie indicated that “Carver had not received the funds from the DOE and asking the students to ‘return and register for the spring 2015 semester’ and that Carver had ‘worked through the issues with the Department of Education and [was] confident that the same scenario will not be repeated.'”
     Crummie sent another letter to the students on Jan. 17, stating that the DOE “are the ones in control, not Carver” and that Carver would “contact you [the students] immediately when the funds arrive to inform you when to come pick up your disbursements.”
     A Feb. 12 letter from Crummie indicated that the DOE “had rejected the request for funds and that Carver could not release the funds.”
     Another letter written by Crummie was sent to students on March 24, this time saying “the U.S. Department of Education requires us to post aid to student accounts and show refund amounts, if any, to student accounts before we actually receive the funds.”
     Despite the fact that none of the student aid had been disbursed, Alexander posted that $10,388 had been disbursed to Gardner.
     As of May 18, Gardner says he does not have access to Carver’s website and is unable to reach the school by phone.
     The complaint says it is “entirely possible” that others were aware of and involved in the scheme.
     Gardner is represented by Atlanta-based DeWoskin Law Firm.
     Representatives for Carver College could not be reached for comment, and the school’s phone number has been disconnected.

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