Student loan scams usually impact individuals, but colleges can be the target of a scam, too. That was the case in Chicago where a couple was able to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from the College of DuPage, a two-year community college, in an elaborate student loan scheme.
According to DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin, Cedric Ramey and Mary Allen of Roselle, a suburb of Chicago, were charged in a twenty count indictment for defrauding the community college out of more than $200,000. The pair faces a litany of charges including stealing more than $100,000 from a school or place of worship, identity theft, conspiracy to commit a financial crime, and quite a few others. The defendants, Ramey who is 40 and Allen who is 37, are charged with running an elaborate scheme from February of 2012 through May of 2014 in which the two would get friends to apply for admission to the College of DuPage, filling out student loan and federal grant applications.
Once admitted into the school with the aid in hand, the friends would withdraw from classes and receive a tuition balance refund. The recruits would divvy up the refund with Ramey and Allen, prosecutors alleged. The two were able to steal a total of $205,580 before getting caught after an individual complained that she received a tuition bill from the school even though she didn’t attend the college. That complaint to the College of DuPage kicked off an investigation between the College of DuPage police department with an assist by the State Attorney’s financial crimes unit, ultimately leading to Ramey and Allen.
“Not only did the alleged actions of Mr. Ramey and Ms. Allen cost the College of DuPage hundreds of thousands of dollars, their actions may have also hindered other students with a legitimate need in their search of financial aid,” State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said in the statement. The College of DuPage expressed sadness that anyone would want to commit fraud against a publicly funded school, but it said in a statement that it is pleased the State’s attorney general is moving ahead with indictments of the two.
Ramey and Allen aren’t the first people to commit fraud related to student loans. In the last year alone, there have been a number of cases in which individuals defrauded the government and higher education institutions by applying for fake student loans, often stealing unsuspecting people’s personal information to do so.
In March, the Justice Department sentenced a Georgian woman to more than six years in federal prison for student loan fraud. The woman from Newnan, Georgia received $200,000 in financial aid by stealing the identities of unsuspecting victims and filing fake student loan applications. She had applied for over $500,000 successfully before she accidentally signed her name on an application and got caught. The woman was able to steal identities through a patient database at a healthcare company where she was employed for a short period of time.
Author: Donna Fuscaldo
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