Paso Robles woman guilty of $35 million fraud scheme

June 7, 2011

Jean Cross

A Paso Robles woman was found guilty this afternoon of three felony counts in a scheme to defraud the United States Department of Education and the California Department of Education by submitting an application for more than $35 million in grant money that contained forged signatures and other alterations and misstatements.

Jean Michele Cross, 59, was found guilty of mail fraud, forging a writing to obtain money from the United States and making false statements.

Cross was convicted of the criminal offenses for preparing and filing in March 2007 an application for a 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program (21st CCLC) grant on behalf of IYTF, a non-profit, community-based organization in the Coachella Valley. The application sought annual awards of $7,131,856 for five years.

The California Department of Education, which administered the 21st CCLC grant program in California, awarded the grant for approximately $6.9 million annually and mailed a $3,455,370 check to IYTF in December 2007. In April 2008, after improprieties about the grant application process surfaced, IYTF returned the check.

The 21st CCLC grant application contained several forms that required original signatures from persons involved with the administration of the grant, including the authorized executive of the applicant agency, school principals and school district superintendents.

The evidence at trial showed that Cross altered and forged signatures and documents in the 21st CCLC application. Specifically, Cross forged the signatures of the executive director of IYTF, school principals and school district officials on the 21st CCLC application and supporting documents.

Cross also forged and altered documents submitted in support of the application. For instance, Cross altered a document that purported to be a memorandum of understanding from Desert Sands Unified School District by adding terms the school district had not agreed to, such as stating that Desert Sands Unified School District would contribute approximately $156,445 to programs being funded by the grant. Cross also forged memoranda from several other school districts, including the Perris Elementary School District, the Perris Union High School District and the Nuview Unified School District.

Additionally, Cross made many false statements in the narrative portion of the grant application. For instance, she represented that student, parent and staff surveys were conducted to plan for the grant application when, in fact, no such surveys were actually conducted and statistical information had been copied from prior grants that Cross had written.

Cross concealed a 15 percent fee she had negotiated in exchange for submitting a successful grant application.

As a result of today’s convictions, Cross faces a maximum statutory penalty of 35 years in federal prison. She is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Virginia A. Phillips on August 29.

The case against Cross is the result of an investigation by the United States Department of Education, Office of Inspector General; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.


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13 Comments

  1. willie says:

    Don’t get me wrong
    I do believe the preservation of the many outweighs the selfish desires and devastation caused by the few regardless of how gorgeous she may look under all that cosmetic treatment (I have children I love more dearly who will inherit what the shit these people leave behind (F her in sense of dismissal not sexual!). Nice looking chick for her age.

    (-3) 5 Total Votes - 1 up - 4 down
    • NorCoMod says:

      If you’re still on your meds, maybe it’s time for a re-evaluation.

      (3) 5 Total Votes - 4 up - 1 down
      • willie says:

        Yes I am, its not the physician, I OD a little at times when I feel its needed,
        Thanks, I didn’t realize it sticks out.

        (-2) 2 Total Votes - 0 up - 2 down
  2. r0y says:

    It’s nice when the dishonest are caught and appropriately punished (that remains to be seen here); however, I’d like to see an equal justice done to those in elected office who have done much worse than Ms. Cross.

    It’s like everyone screaming bloody murder when Madoff was busted, but sat around as everyone connected to Fannie/Freddy were rewarded millions in bonuses for fleecing the next three generations.

    Still, it is a good start. I hope her sentencing is not light.

    (13) 23 Total Votes - 18 up - 5 down
    • JonnyB says:

      Why didn’t Dubya and the Repubs do anything after the 2003 financial accounting scandal?

      (1) 19 Total Votes - 10 up - 9 down
      • r0y says:

        Because they are in on it as much as all the Democrats? Seriously? You want to bring ideology and band-wagon election mentality to a serious financial issue?

        No offense, but it is precisely that method of thinking that allows crooks to continue pulling the wool over your eyes. I hope you may one day see it. We need more people to see what’s happening and not just the “oh yeah, the other guys did *this* and your guys did *that*” 5th grade responses.

        (-1) 3 Total Votes - 1 up - 2 down
        • JonnyB says:

          What we need is the NOT SO QUITE HANDS OF GOVERNMENT BEING USED AGAIN.

          Unlike when Ronnie said “government is the problem” and then went out and put people in gov to prove it!

          Government sets the rules to an economy. Every gov. Every economy. This “free market” crap is just that!

          (1) 5 Total Votes - 3 up - 2 down
  3. willie says:

    She is a gorgeous gal for her age.
    A blond hair, blue eye beauty, no doubt.

    My LE trainer in 1970 told us, once you clearly see the wrong doing, adhere to that as basis more than any or whatever polish or empressive persuation.

    (-10) 14 Total Votes - 2 up - 12 down
    • willie says:

      I can tell you this much, as attractive as she looks for her age, somebody will come to her rescue.
      Myself, I was taught early on, to adhere to what they committed more than how they look (appearance, class or talk).
      These elegant and empressive people will destroy us………….
      Really nice looking chick for her age.

      (-9) 15 Total Votes - 3 up - 12 down
      • r0y says:

        Down, boy! we got it… you find her attractive.

        Reminds me of a comedian’s line “Ugly women are like men: they have to work for a living” (or something like that).

        Finally: beauty is only skin deep, but I think you might know that.

        (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
        • willie says:

          rOy
          Just having a little satire fun with what is shown
          Enjoy your reply.

          (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  4. Spirit Filled says:

    If she’s guilty she’s guilty. My recommendation is give all of us senior’s an across the board 50% discount on everything. Give us a grant and a discount. Is that asking for too much? I only want people over 65 answer that question. God Bless old people. And everyone else. We all need blessings.

    (-18) 28 Total Votes - 5 up - 23 down
    • Spirit Filled says:

      I think people under 65 are answering the question. Yea to the seniors!! I meant it about the discount. And still do. Okay 25% would be okay also. God bring us all peace in this day.

      (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down

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