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updated: 4/28/2014 3:02 PM

Suburban men charged with defrauding schools in tutoring scheme

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Daily Herald report

A suburban father and son were indicted on federal fraud charges stemming from a multistate scheme that prosecutors said netted their tutoring companies more than $33 million in government funds.

Prosecutors said Kabir Kassam, 34, of Wheeling and his father Jowhar Soultanali, 58, of Morton Grove, bribed school officials, rigged test results and often failed to test clients at all as part of the scheme.

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More than 200 school district in 19 states, including Illinois, were defrauded by the two Niles-based companies run by the men, prosecutors said.

The companies were hired by school districts to provide "supplemental educational services" under the 2001 No Child Left Act to low-income students, according to the indictment announced today. According to court papers, Kassam even directed an employee to configure a computer program to ensure students' post-test scores were always higher than their purported pretest scores.

Prosecutors said the two men pocketed between $8 million and $13.6 million. The government is seeking forfeiture of the companies' bank accounts, the men's residences, three condominiums, five luxury automobiles, six life insurance policies and various diamond jewelry.

Four other men who live in either Texas and New Mexico were charged with accepting bribes from Kassam and Soultanali, according to the indictment. Those four were accused of steering contracts to the Illinois men and their companies.

If convicted, Kassam and Soultanali face a maximum of 20 years behind bars.

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