Edvisors Private Student Loans

Scholarship News

3 Women Charged in $1M Student Financial Aid Fraud


July 2, 2019 11:07 AM
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
 Three San Bernardino County women who have been accused of stealing $1 million in federal financial aid from Fullerton college, in California, have been arrested by the U.S. Justice Department and are charged with various counts of mail and wire fraud. The scheme involved enrolling hundreds of mainly non-existent students, successfully applying for grants and loans and pocketing the money.

Three San Bernardino County women who have been accused of stealing $1 million in federal financial aid from Fullerton college, in California, have been arrested by the U.S. Justice Department and are charged with various counts of mail and wire fraud. The scheme involved enrolling hundreds of mainly non-existent students, successfully applying for grants and loans and pocketing the money.

After being indicted by a federal grand jury, the three women pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, counts of mail and wire fraud; they also face charges of aggravated identity theft and financial aid fraud. Sparkle Shorale Nelson, Shykeena Monique "Shy" Johnson, and Jerrika Eldrena Lashay "Muffin" Johnson allegedly filed online requests for college financial aid using their names, stolen identities, and the identities of at least two inmates in California state prisons, according to the indictment. A Department of Justice news release also noted that the "vast majority" of the people enrolled at the college never attended classes. Though a Fullerton College spokesperson claimed she was unaware of the case, the college had dealt with identical scams before.

The defendants and un-indicted co-conspirators obtained the names and Social Security numbers of 234 "straw students" and used their personal information to enroll them at Fullerton and other colleges in 2013 and 2014. After applying online and qualifying for federal government financial aid, the funds were sent to the college, which then deducted tuition and fees from said amount and sent the remaining balance to the fake students via debit card or paper check. In this case, the defendants received the debit cards, accompanied by a PIN that could be used to activate the cards online. Nelson allegedly activated one card issued in the name of a prisoner, using it to pay a $370 Southern California Edison bill. In total, the defendants collected $1,089,856. If convicted, all three women face statutory maximum sentences of more than 300 years in federal prison.

College is expensive, Scholarships.com is completely free. Pay for your college education with as much free college scholarship money as possible. By applying to all the awards you qualify for, you can be sure to not miss a single opportunity in paying for your college expenses - including tuition, fees, room and board. Get matched to college scholarships instantly and start applying today by conducting a free college scholarship search at Scholarships.com.

Discuss

Share your thoughts and perhaps thousands of students will benefit from your unique insight on the subject!



If you can read this, don't touch the following fields


 

Pennylee  on  8/11/2019 10:55:59 AM commented:

Thankyou!

Nancy K.  on  7/7/2019 3:26:47 PM commented:

How could these women steal that much money without being caught sooner? How could they get the money without attending classes? It don't make sense to me about how they got somuch money without attending classes because where I am from if you don't attend classes you don't get your refund, a month have to go by before any money is sent to the student. That's why I am puzzles about how these ladies got so much money without attending classes. They must have been so busy ladies and greedy to go thru all the motions to get one million dollars and then have to split it three ways. I hope it was worth it....ops was it?

You may be surprised to learn that many of your fellow college students struggle with hunger. About 1 in 5 students are affected by food insecurity. In a normal time, not getting enough to eat can impact students’ grades, health and ability to finish their degrees. And a loss of campus jobs, housing and meal plans due to the pandemic puts more students in danger of going without the food they need. That’s where student-run food banks and pantries come in.

Student-Run Food Banks Making a Difference on Campus

August 11, 2020 10:57 AM
by Izzy Hall
You may be surprised to learn that many of your fellow college students struggle with hunger. About 1 in 5 students are affected by food insecurity. In a normal time, not getting enough to eat can
Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, founder of the Giving Pledge charity, has been looking to donate her considerable wealth to worthy causes. Among the charities and institutions where she has donated money are a number of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), including Howard University and Tuskegee University.

Charitable Donations to HBCUs from Noted Philanthropist

August 6, 2020 11:29 AM
by Izzy Hall
Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, founder of the Giving Pledge charity, has been looking to donate her considerable wealth to worthy causes. Among the charities and institutions where she has donated
The federal work-study program is a way in which college students can work part- or full-time while simultaneously attending school in order to help pay for college-related expenses. The program, available at the undergraduate, graduate and professional level, may face some changes amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

College Work-Study Jobs Face Changes During Pandemic

August 4, 2020 4:04 PM
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
The federal work-study program is a way in which college students can work part- or full-time while simultaneously attending school in order to help pay for college-related expenses. The program,
Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the current chairman of the Senate education committee, has recently proposed the Student Loan Repayment and FAFSA Simplification Act, a piece of legislation that would allow students with no income to forgo federal student loan repayments. His recommendations, which he developed with bipartisan support, would also simplify the FAFSA and reduce the number of federal loan repayment options from nine to two.

Senator Outlines Student Loan Relief in New Proposal

July 30, 2020 11:49 AM
by Izzy Hall
Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the current chairman of the Senate education committee, has recently proposed the Student Loan Repayment and FAFSA Simplification Act, a piece of legislation
Have your financial circumstances changed due to COVID-19? You’re not alone. Many students and their families have faced unemployment, reduced job hours and general loss of economic stability in the wake of the pandemic. And as the FAFSA determines your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) based on income from the previous year, students may have greater financial need now than they did when they initially filed for federal aid. Unfortunately, the deadline to submit the FAFSA passed at the end of June. However, it is not too late to appeal your student financial aid from your chosen institution.

It’s Not Too Late: Guide to Appealing Financial Aid

July 28, 2020 1:20 PM
by Izzy Hall
Have your financial circumstances changed due to COVID-19? You’re not alone. Many students and their families have faced unemployment, reduced job hours and general loss of economic stability in the
The FAFSA is a critical tool for both applying to colleges and applying to scholarships – in fact, need-based scholarships often require that you submit the FAFSA as part of your application. So, in a time of economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic, it’s surprising to learn that many low-income and minority students did not submit the FAFSA for the upcoming academic year even though they would’ve been eligible for federal aid. At Scholarships.com, we don’t want students to miss out on any form of college financial aid. Applications for the next academic year will open soon, so get prepared by reviewing these FAFSA facts.

The FAFSA: Why You Should File (And How!)

July 23, 2020 3:47 PM
by Izzy Hall
The FAFSA is a critical tool for both applying to colleges and applying to scholarships – in fact, need-based scholarships often require that you submit the FAFSA as part of your application. So, in
While the CDC has not finalized their guidelines for reopening schools for the Fall 2020 semester, the New York Times discovered an unreleased document in which the organization reviews the safety protocol of a handful of institutions of higher education. How are the reviewed schools planning on confronting the coronavirus on campus this fall?

CDC Reviews Higher Ed Reopening Plans for Fall 2020

July 21, 2020 11:47 AM
by Izzy Hall
While the CDC has not finalized their guidelines for reopening schools for the Fall 2020 semester, the New York Times discovered an unreleased document in which the organization reviews the safety
A new survey detailing what rising high school seniors think about college amid the COVID-19 pandemic indicates that despite being unable to visit colleges for much of the year, rising high school seniors are already looking toward fall 2021 and are optimistic that higher education will be back to normal by that time. As a general whole, the survey findings show that the COVID-19 pandemic has not dampened prospective students' interest in attending college in fall 2021.

Where High School Seniors Stand on Coronavirus and College

July 16, 2020 9:48 AM
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
A new survey detailing what rising high school seniors think about college amid the COVID-19 pandemic indicates that despite being unable to visit colleges for much of the year, "rising high school