FORT WAYNE – Robin C. Opper, 36, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Holly Brady this week after pleading guilty to wire fraud, said U.S. Attorney Thomas L. Kirsch II.

Opper was sentenced to 12 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $566,618 in restitution.

“This is one of the last defendants to be sentenced in an massive fraud scheme involving federal charges against 31 former BAE employees arising out of false submissions for reimbursement from the employer’s tuition assistance program,” Kirsch said. “All 31 defendants have been convicted of various charges of wire fraud and ordered to pay restitution to BAE for its loss which, as a result of the scheme, totaled $806,241. We, along with our law enforcement partners, take financial fraud seriously and will take measures to obtain restitution for the victim of these offenses.”

"This sentence sends a clear message that the FBI will aggressively pursue those who commit financial fraud and vigorously investigate this criminal activity,” said Grant Mendenhall, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Indianapolis Division. “The FBI and our law enforcement partners will continue to use all the resources at our disposal to ensure those who believe they can profit from defrauding others face the full consequences of their actions.”

According to documents in the case, between June 13, 2013, and April 25, 2016, while employed at BAE Systems in Fort Wayne, Opper devised a scheme to defraud his employer. The scheme was used to obtain fraudulent reimbursement payment from BAE’s tuition assistance program. Opper perpetrated the scheme by submitting false documentation regarding college course enrollment in order to obtain reimbursement for tuition payments for courses he neither registered for nor completed.

In addition, Opper recruited other employees to participate in the scheme and provided them with fraudulent documentation so that they, too, could receive payments to which they were not entitled. Opper required the employees he recruited to pay him a fee for his assistance. Opper received $37,500 from BAE for fraudulent tuition reimbursements for himself, and BAE paid $529,118 to other employees whom Opper recruited into the fraud scheme.

The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacey R. Speith.

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