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?

 E-tail giant Amazon is now accepting applications to its Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship Program for students entering college in the fall of 2020. The scholarship program offers 100 current high school seniors from underserved and underrepresented communities across the country the opportunity to receive $40,000 scholarships to study computer science at a four-year college or university and a guaranteed paid internship offer at Amazon after the completion of their first year.

Amazon Offers $40K Future Engineer Scholarships

November 6, 2019 1:41 PM
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
E-tail giant Amazon is now accepting applications to its Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship Program for students entering college in the fall of 2020. The scholarship program offers 100 current high
In response to the NCAA's vote to allow athletes to profit from their names, images and likeness, Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina has proposed taxing those scholarships. Senator Burr tweeted: If college athletes are going to make money off their likenesses while in school, their scholarships should be treated like income. I'll be introducing legislation that subjects scholarships given to athletes who choose to 'cash in' to income taxes.

NC Senator Proposes Taxing of Athletic Scholarships

October 31, 2019 4:02 PM
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
In response to the NCAA's vote to allow athletes to profit from their names, images and likeness, Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina has proposed taxing those scholarships. Senator Burr tweeted:
Gucci is releasing a new line of... diversity undergraduate scholarships for students who are traditionally underrepresented in the fashion industry. The 1.5 million U.S. university college scholarship program is set to run for four years, targeting students who attend four-year universities. Special consideration will be given to those residing in Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Toronto and Washington, D.C and/or for those who plan to attend or are currently attending a Historically Black College and University (HBCU).

Gucci Gaffe Results in Green for Grads

October 8, 2019 2:28 PM
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
Gucci is releasing a new line of... diversity undergraduate scholarships for students who are "traditionally underrepresented in the fashion industry." The 1.5 million U.S. university college
Not every student who goes to college completes their degree, much less finishes it within the normal four-year time frame. The Texas of A&M University has spent years working to re-enroll students who stopped out of college for a year or more, and may have found a solution in partnering with ReUp Education.

Texas A&M Working to Re-enroll College Stopouts

September 26, 2019 2:15 PM
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
Not every student who goes to college completes their degree, much less finishes it within the "normal" four-year time frame. The Texas of A&M University has spent years working to re-enroll students
 Photo credit: Jared Ames

A new PBS documentary exhibiting prison education, titled College Behind Bars is set to air on November 25 and 26. The four-part series documents the journeys of dozens of incarcerated men and women as they pursue college degrees in the Bard Prison Initiative - deemed one of the most rigorous prison education programs in the United States, according to Inside Higher Ed.

PBS Airs Documentary About Higher Ed in Prison

September 18, 2019 11:53 AM
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
Photo credit: Jared Ames A new PBS documentary exhibiting prison education, titled "College Behind Bars" is set to air on November 25 and 26. The four-part series documents the journeys of dozens
The federal government discharged more than $43 million in student loan debt for former students of recently closed for-profit colleges. Students who attended programs operated by Education Corporation of America, Dream Center Education Holdings, Vatterott College and Charlotte School of Law will be able to qualify for a full discharge of their federal loans if they were enrolled when their college closed or withdrew within 120 days of the official closure date and didn’t transfer to another institution, according to Inside Higher Education.

$43M in Loans Forgiven for Students of Closed Colleges

September 6, 2019 9:18 AM
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
The federal government discharged more than $43 million in student loan debt for former students of recently closed for-profit colleges. Students who attended programs operated by Education
College Board is ditching its previous plan to capture socioeconomic information from students with a single score - also known as an adversity score - when scoring their SAT college admissions test. The score would have taken into account a student's socioeconomic background and the neighborhood in which they grew up.

College Board Backpedals - No Adversity Score to be Added

August 30, 2019 2:05 PM
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
College Board is ditching its previous plan to capture socioeconomic information from students with a single score - also known as an "adversity score" - when scoring their SAT college admissions
Female-only college and university STEM programs are coming under fire for male discrimination as they attempt to redress gender imbalance in fields such as computer science and engineering. The U.S. Department of Education launched more than two dozen investigations into higher education institutions nationwide - including UC Berkeley, UCLA and USC as well as Yale, Princeton and Rice - which offer female-only scholarships, awards and professional development workshops.

Female-Only Scholarships Under Fire In Higher Ed

August 20, 2019 4:57 PM
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
Female-only college and university STEM programs are coming under fire for male discrimination as they attempt to "redress gender imbalance" in fields such as computer science and engineering. The