According to a press release on March 15 from the Middle District of Georgia, a federal grand jury indicted Queen Adeboyejo, a 63-year old former high school teacher from Southwest High School in Macon, Georgia, after pleading guilty to student loan fraud.
Adeboyejo reportedly couldn’t get a Direct PLUS student loan from the Department of Education when she was trying to earn a doctorate degree. Using social security numbers and birth dates of three individuals, she fraudulently designated these individuals as consignors on federal aid applications without their consent or knowledge. She allegedly received $17,828 through one unwary endorser, $75,166 through another endorser, and was in the process of obtaining $150,000 from another cosigner.
Following the indictment, sentencing will take place in June 2017 in Macon, Georgia. She faces a maximum decision of five years in prison, $250,000 in fines (potentially both), and three years of supervised release following her initial sentence completion. In addition to the possibility of fines and jail time, Queen Adeboyejo agreed to pay $123,732 back to the Department of Education.
On the indictment, U.S. Attorney Peterman said, “Ms. Adeboyejo stole from the government student loan program, she stole from deserving students who were qualified to receive the money she fraudulently obtained, and she damaged the credit of those whose identities she stole to carry out her scheme.” Special Agent from the Department of Education Yessyka Santana expanded saying that “the OIG is committed to fighting student financial aid fraud and we will continue to aggressively pursue those that participate in these types of crimes.”
Adeboyejo isn’t the only resident of Georgia to be indicted by law enforcement officials for defrauding the Department of Education in recent weeks. Earlier this month, a Newnam, Georgia woman was charged with scamming the Education Department out of $200,000 in student aid using the personal information of unsuspecting victims. The defendant applied for more than $500,000 in student loans before she inadvertently signed her own name on a loan application with stolen information and got busted. The woman had only received $200,000 when she was apprehended.
Student loan scams end up costing everyone including taxpayers and students, and the increasing number of fraud schemes underscores a major problem in the country: student loan debt is way out of whack, crippling countless borrowers. More than 40 million people owe an average of $28,000in individual student loan debt, and the cost of a college education seems to rise every year. With so much aid getting thrown around, it’s not surprising that some criminals are trying to capitalize off such a large source of federal dollars.
New research from LendEDU shows that the average student loan debt is $26,851, slightly under the $28,000 national average, and an average default rate of 7.42%, also below the national average. In District 2, where the Macon former high school teacher is from, borrowers owe an average of $28,851 and default at a rate of 7.66%, both figures are above average for Georgian residents.
Keep in mind, District 2 has Rep. Sanford Bishop, a veteran Democrat who supports a slew of student loan debt reforms including low student loan interest rates, expanding Pell Grants, the refinancing of federal student loans, and student loan forgiveness. To clarify, he supports a federal refinancing initiative, so the federal government would offer refinancing which is in stark contrast to private student loan refinancing offered today.
Author: Donna Fuscaldo
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