Merritt Island Woman Arrested for Grant Program Fraud

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Orlando Regional Operations Center today arrested Laura Ann Nichilo, 49, of Merritt Island.  Nichilo was charged with one count of organized scheme to defraud, a first degree felony,  one count of perjury in an official proceeding, a third degree felony and one count of uttering a forged instrument, a third degree felony.

The investigation began in January of 2010, when the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office advised FDLE that Nichilo had submitted forged and altered Brevard County Fire and Rescue fire inspection reports to the Florida Department of Education. According to investigators, Nichilo allegedly falsified the reports and certificates in 2008 to allow her business, the Christian Homeschool Co-op, Inc., to be eligible for state scholarship funds.  

Nichilo unlawfully accepted $227,418.60 in grant funds she was not eligible to receive because her business was not in compliance with state guidelines which required a current, violation-free fire inspection report.
Nichilo was booked into the Brevard County Jail.  The case will be prosecuted by the Office of the State Attorney, Eighteenth Judicial Circuit.
For Further Information Contact:
Heather Smith, Keith Kameg or Kristi Gordon
FDLE Office of Public Information
(850) 410-7001