Bernie Sander’s wife could face jail time, FBI investigation over college scam

Bernie Sanders’ wife is in deep trouble—and could be facing jail time, thanks to an FBI investigation into a college she once ran.

Jane O’Meara Sanders was the president of the now-defunct Burlington College in Vermont from 2004 to 2011. The college closed in May 2016.

Towards the end of her tenure, O’Meara Sanders spent $10 million to acquire 32 acres of property from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington, in order to increase the college’s footprint. In order to secure the $10 million, she took a $3.65 million loan from the diocese, and a $6.7 million loan from People’s United Bank.

In order to secure the loan, O’Meara Sanders is accused of fraudulently presenting the college’s financial strength. She told the bank that the college had $2.6 million in pledged donations. However, the actual amount was a fraction of that sum.

As a result, Burlington College was ultimately unable to make its loan payments. The diocese claims to have lost between $1.5 and $2 million on the sale; it’s unclear how much People’s United Bank may have lost.

Publicly-available emails from education officials show that the FBI is currently investigating Burlington College—and has been for as much as a year. Burlington College board chair Yves Bradley went on the record to say that he wasn’t sure exactly what the FBI was investing—but speculated that it has to do with O’Meara Sanders.

“At the end of the day, it’s got to relate back to the purchase of the land by the college,” he said.

If O’Meara Sanders is convicted of defrauding a bank, she faces up to 30 years in prison and $1 million in fines.


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