What may have started as a way to get student loans quickly grew, eventually turning into the focus of a federal investigation. A New Jersey woman recently pled guilty to counts of fraud, identity theft and tax evasion a year after she was charged and arrested for the federal crimes.
The woman was first arrested nearly four years ago when one of her banks froze her account citing suspicious activity. After the arrest, law enforcement used evidence found in her car to investigate what has become a multi-million dollar loan scheme.
She was believed to have used a number of individuals' identification and information to apply for dozens of student loans totaling in $1.7 million. Officials claim that she used fake college enrollment letters, fake pay stubs, and false tax forms to secure loans.
After several years of investigating, federal authorities believe that the woman received nearly $200,000 in student loans. She would receive the checks at her home address and then cash the checks, putting the money into several different bank accounts for her own use. In addition to the fraudulently obtained loans, she also admitted in court that she did not pay any taxes on the loan money.
Now, after pleading guilty, the 24-year-old woman will be waiting for the next few months until her next court date when a federal judge will decide on a sentence. If she is given the maximum sentence, she could be spending the next 30 years in prison as well as paying a very large fine. Even if the judge decides to give her a lesser sentence, this could impact her entire future.
Having a criminal record can make it very difficult to find a job or to get higher education. If you are faced with criminal charges, it is important to make sure that you understand the implications. Speaking with someone who understands the criminal justice system can help you determine what the next step should be. It can also help you defend your rights and minimize the negative impact a conviction can have on your future.
Source: Philly Burbs: "Pemberton Township woman admits $200K student-loan fraud,"Danielle Camilli, July 29, 2011.