BRUNSWICK, Ga (WSAV) — The director of a Camden County Dive shop admitted to submitting false claims to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for scuba classes that focused on military veterans’ education benefits.

According to officials, John Spyke, 39, of Yulee, Fla now awaits sentencing after he plead guilty. Spyke is being charged with False, Fictitious, and Fraudulent Claims.

His guilty plea means he will be subjected to a possible statutory penalty of up to five years in prison along with substantial financial penalities and restitution as well as up to three years of supervised release following any prison term.

There is no parole in the federal system.

Officials say that Spyker was a School Certifying Official and Director of Training at Diver’s Den in St. Marys, Ga. He admitted that, between January 2021 through January 2022 he and others, intentionally submitted false and fradulent information to the Department of Veterans Affairs for tuition payments under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The sum totaled $722,399.19.

This wasn’t the only defendant from the same business. Five other defendants who entered guilty please in the U.S. District Court are owners, managers, and/or instructors at Diver’s Den and Scooba Shack in Savannah and Richmond Hill. The defendants are responsible for defrauding more than $6 million from VA education benefits.

Fraudulent information provided to the VA included misstating compliance with VA regulations, dates of students’ attendance, and hours of instruction among other information.

“Safeguarding Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefit funds reserved for deserving veterans remains a priority, and our investigators are working diligently in the field to ensure these programs are not exploited for financial gain and greed,” said Special Agent in Charge David Spilker with the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General’s Southeast Field Office. “Six guilty pleas in this case is a testament of our commitment to working with our law enforcement partners to hold accountable those who would defraud VA’s benefits programs.”

The case is being investigated by the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General, and prosecuted for the United States by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia.