During the years of grade school and college, test day likely produced anxiety and dread in students.  Whether you stayed up all night studying or never opened the book, the moment that test was placed on your desk, it was “game on.”  According to an article in The State, it was “game on” for a college test proctor found guilty of student aid fraud.

Let’s travel back to school; you are sitting in science class, analyzing a problem using the scientific method.  The process begins with a research topic that is funneled down into a question you seek to answer.  Here’s the question:   “How can a test proctor defraud the federal government of student aid money?” (Don’t jump to conclusions!  There is a process!)The next step is to research the topic to form your hypothesis.  While this article doesn’t lend space for a built out research step, we do know student loan fraud is on the rise in the U.S.  In addition, we know that a test proctor has a means of defrauding the government due to the power they hold in their responsibility to monitor placement tests. (But, who would take advantage of such a position?) With our research, we can form a hypothesis, such as:  “If the test proctor utilizes her powers to monitor placement tests, then she will be able to defraud the federal government of student aid money.” (Well class, we are halfway there.)

We can’t stop at a hypothesis – we must find the answer to our question.  This leads us to testing the hypothesis by an experiment – provided to us courtesy of our former South Carolina test proctor and convicted fraudster. (Can we get a round of applause for our volunteer?) Using her ability to monitor placement tests, the woman charged individuals approximately $300 to take the test for the person seeking aid, ensuring the student received a passing grade.  Once the students received financial aid, they would not attend the course, and instead used the money to pay for personal expenses.(In science, this is where we say “Eureka!”) Nearing the end of our process, we must gather and analyze our data.  It is estimated that nearly $50,000 was stolen between 2010 and 2012, as a result of this scam.  In fact, one individual involved in the scam stole $9,000.  In our final step, we are able to conclude:  “A test proctor can utilize her powers to take placement tests for others, ensuring a passing grade and receiving financial aid that is then used for personal expenses.”  The judge sentenced the proctor fraudster to 13 months in prison and full payment of restitution in the amount of $21,000. The fraudster who stole the $9,000 was convicted of mail fraud, but her sentence was not known at press time.  (Great, now we just need the remaining $20,000.)

Sometimes, we all face a test we just can’t pass – for this young fraudster, the federal government served her a test she failed with flying colors.  Luckily, she will have 13 months in prison to catch up on her studies.

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