The owner of San Jose-based Advanced Vocational Institute (AVi), Rashad Said, has been charged with 11 felony counts involving workers’ compensation fraud and kickbacks. Said, a former member of the San Jose Regional Workforce Development Board, is accused of illegally diverting over $650,000 in workers’ compensation insurance funds while failing to help the injured workers who had come to Avi for vocational training wanting to reenter the workforce.
State rules allow some injured workers to receive vouchers to help them with tuition, educational materials, tools, supplies, and vocational counseling as they pursue training for a new job. These vouchers can be as high as $10,000, and 10% of the amount can be used for vocational counseling services. Said is accused of taking the vouchers and giving vulnerable workers, many of whom spoke little or no English and did not understand the program, small cash amounts in lieu of training. An official estimate indicated that out of 100 cases, only two students had taken any classes, and those were online with no personal interaction. Said is also accused of giving kickbacks to counselors who referred the workers to his school.
The investigation that led to the discovery of AVi’s offenses began in the summer of 2018 when a student at a different vocational school complained about an unrelated crime. The resultant investigation unearthed offenses by multiple other schools. Said was arraigned on October 23, 2019, and his plea hearing is scheduled for November 11, 2019. He faces incarceration if convicted.