Student loans are becoming increasingly difficult for the average college student to obtain. However, it appears at least one group is able to borrow private loans with relative ease: 80-something hospice patients in Florida. A student loan scam recently uncovered in St. Petersburg, Florida involved two stolen identities and between $15,000 and $18,000 in loans.
An 80-year-old woman and an 83-year-old man had their identities used to take out private student loans from Sallie Mae. A news story in The St. Petersburg Times describes the fraud as "poorly executed," involving blatant and inconsistent forgeries, including a fake ID with nothing changed but the picture--not even the 80-year-old's birth date. Private student lenders have previously come under fire when student loan scams were revealed, as private loans are by far the easiest type of student loan to fraudulently receive.
While many student loan scams don't even involve the pursuit of a real college degree, this one appears to have been perpetrated by a nursing student who had previously cared for the two victims of identity theft. The woman accused of identity theft successfully completed coursework at Keiser Career College and received her Licensed Practical Nurse certification in the fall. Bail is currently set at $40,000--already more money than she would have owed had she taken out the loans herself.