What was your favorite subject in school?  Perhaps math class was your thing – numbers and equations were easy for you.  Not a math lover?  Maybe you were interested in biology or English.  According to a KMOV.com article, one couple thought they had excelled in the class of fraud, until they received a notice of failure.

There were a few important aspects about school:  (1) attendance – you had to be there, (2) homework – you had to complete it and (3) grades – they were proof of success or failure.  Neglecting one of those three could be detrimental to a number of things from passing your class to flunking out of school. (Of course, as we get into the “real world,” the consequences are far more serious.) For a couple in Illinois, the balance of the three aspects of school became very disrupted by a large influence – fraud.  The couple manipulated the federal government into providing them with nearly $47,000 in student loan money. (Fraud may make you feel like one of the “smart kids”; but eventually, your plan will be exposed, making you join the less cognitively talented team.)

The fraudulent couple recently pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit student loan fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud.  In a not so unique scam, they used personal identification information of approximately 28 friends and family members (Friends? Not anymore!)  Of those 28 individuals, 16 of the identities were used to enroll in the undergraduate program at an online university, with a start date of September 2008.  As part of the application process, the couple noted each of those 16 individuals would need financial aid.  The couple received checks in the amount of $46,778 in the mail, at which point in time they’d conveniently drop the classes for which they had used the identities.  The federal government revealed that a total of $98,658 was paid out by the government for the financial aid, including $46,778 in refund overpayments to the fraudsters.  The couple faces full restitution of $98,658 plus jail time. (Well students, what are the lessons learned?  Oh yes, do not defraud the U.S. government.)

It looks like this couple skipped the class, “Getting Away with Fraud 101,” and went straight to “Going to Jail 400.”  I think the judge should ask them to write a paper about their experiences and the lessons they’ve learned through the process.  If they are going to defraud financial aid for schools, we might as well make them do some type of academic punishment!

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