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Eight Plead No Contest To Student Loan Fraud Charges

Last week in Los Angeles, eight people pled no contest with regard to their involvement in a scam aimed at fraudulently taking out more than $200,000 in student loans from the federal government.

Ranging in age from 26 to 63 years old, the defendants were sentenced to serve three years' probation, 90 days in jail, or 45 days of work each according to the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office. In addition, each was ordered to pay $18,500 in restitution and submit to the law enforcement booking process.

The defendants, Eboni Myisha Adams, 27; Catherine Elra Belisle, 63; Dennis Croom, 35; Michael Todd Harrell, 44; Monique Morgan, 26; Taineka Powell, 34; Judy Marie Thomas, 56; and Ronald Thomas, Jr., 38, were not students but were accused of working with a former financial aid director at the University of West Los Angeles to apply for $18,500 each in federal student loans. This resulted in each non-student receiving a full loan from the United States Department of Education.

According to the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office, the fraudulent activity was discovered by the university after the employee had been terminated, and the issue was turned over to the Department of Education's Office of the Inspector General to be investigated.

The results of the investigation were forwarded to Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo's identity theft unit for prosecution by Deputy City Attorneys Christopher Garcia and Syndi Hoa.

"This sort of crime steals from all of us. Taxpayers lose, government loses, but the greatest victims are the legitimate students who dream of achieving goals through higher education," said Delgadillo.

Arrest warrants have been issued for three other people who were involved in the scam but failed to appear in court.

The statuses of possible charges against the former university financial aid director are unknown.


Article Title : Eight Plead No Contest To Student Loan Fraud Charges
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