Couple Used Stolen Identities To Obtain $270,000 In Federal Student Loan Funds

There’s no doubt that student loans are a big business. While that business is meant to assist students in attending college, two con artists used the system to line their own pockets, all at the expense of unknowing consumers and the federal government.

WJLA-TV reports that the Pennsylvania couple pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud charges after they were caught receiving more than $270,000 in federal student loans by filing applications using stolen identities.

U.S. Postal Inspector Gregory Botti says the man and woman submitted multiple applications using a variety of stolen identities they obtained in an ID theft ring.

“They were filing different financial applications with online universities using the victim personal identifiers, name, DOB, Social Security numbers and under the offices that the victims were enrolling for the classes online,” Botti tells WJLA.

After submitting the applications the couple contacted Liberty University and American Public University, posing as the students that had been issued the loans and asking that the checks be mailed to a different address.

In all, more than 200 people had their identities stolen and the Department of Education lost more than $270,000 in student loans.

“There’s many layers of victims,” Botti says. “There’s the colleges and universities targeted in these scams. There is the federal government whose often making the payments to people they think are the students […]The student truly applying for financial aid that may not receive what they deserve because of these type of schemes.”

For her part in the scheme the woman was sentenced to 12 years in prison, while her husband is serving two years.

Consumer Alert: Stolen identities used by thieves in student loan scheme [WJLA]