By Guillermo Contreras
Federal agents have arrested a principal operator of a canine-training operation after he was indicted Wednesday by a grand jury on charges related to fraud and money laundering.
Bradley Croft, 46, who has said he was a founder of Universal K9, was arrested moments ago the San Antonio Express-News confirmed. A reporter observed as a federal grand jury returned several indictments by 3 p.m. that included one against Croft.
Agents with the FBI, and the IRS’ Criminal Investigation division raided Universal K9 at 15329 Tradesman, near Loop 1604, which is billed as a nonprofit, on Aug. 8. Of 31 dogs found on the site, 26 were taken into custody by the city’s Animal Care Services.
Councilman Manny Pelaez, who represents the district that includes the site of Universal K9, said in an online post on Aug. 8 that “the IRS and the FBI just shut down an operation that was preying on veterans and not doing right by dogs. That’s a good thing worthy of mention and support.”
San Antonio Police Department officers assisted. The Express-News confirmed that the Department of Veterans Affairs also was involved in the investigation.
“Universal K9 specifically outreaches to veterans and offers a two-week K9 Handlers course or a ten-week trainers course in which any veteran may utilize his or her GI Bill to cover 100% of course costs, including the canine,” Universal K9 said in a lawsuit it filed recently against former students.
It costs $12,500 for a 10-month course, according to exhibits included in the lawsuit.
Universal K9 is also listed as a nonprofit foundation that donates dogs to police departments nationwide and has been featured on local and national media, including CBS News and the Express-News.
Croft is expected to make his initial court appearance on Thursday.