2 admit roles in $24M benefits scheme that targeted veterans

A former official at a New Jersey university and another woman have admitted their roles in a scheme that stole more than $24 million from a federal education benefits program designed to help veterans.

Fifty-six-year-old Lisa DiBisceglie and 61-year-old Helen Sechrist pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Each woman faces up to 20 years in prison when they're sentenced Jan. 24.

DiBisceglie, of Lavallette, was the former associate dean at Caldwell University's Office of External Partnerships. Sechrist, of Sandy Level, Virginia, worked for a Pennsylvania firm that sold educational materials to military members.

Prosecutors say the conspirators aggressively marketed online courses to veterans who thought they were enrolling in accredited courses taught by Caldwell faculty. But they ended up in online correspondence courses administered by an unaccredited company the firm subcontracted.