Have you ever dreamed of being inside of a cash machine with the opportunity to grab at hundreds or even thousands of dollars swirling around in a money tornado? An article posted on WJLA.com tells about how a husband and wife used student loans to create a personal cash machine that bilked the government of more than $272,000. (Fraudsters will grab at just about anything that will make them a quick, easy buck.)
The story states that the Pennsylvania couple stole the identities of more than 200 victims to carry out their scam, which lasted for about one-and-a-half years before being caught. Further research reveals that the ruse began with obtaining the use of a post office box in New Jersey. (They used someone else’s driver’s license and name to open the account.)
The man and wife filed for multiple student loans with several online universities under the names of their victims by using stolen dates of birth and Social Security numbers. Then they contacted the online institutions as if they were the students who had been issued the loans, causing loan checks and debit cards to be redirected to their illegally obtained post office box and an unoccupied house in Pennsylvania.
The con artists both pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. The 37-year-old wife is serving a 12-year sentence, while her 38-year-old husband will be behind bars for two years for his part in the scam.
These two money grabbers victimized the government, the online educational institutions, the people who had their identities stolen and the students who may not have received loans because of the fraudulent scheme. They may have initially turned student loans into a cash machine; however, they got sucked down into the vortex of fraud and were ultimately left holding an empty money bag.
Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Consumer Alert: Stolen Identities Used by Thieves in Student Loan Scheme,” written by Autria Godfrey and posted on WJLA.com on January 22, 2015.
EAST STROUDSBURG, Pa. (WJLA) – Millions of students rely on loans to get them through college. But one team of con artists turned student loans into a cash machine for themselves until they got caught.
Ronzell and Stephanie Mitchell are behind bars for their roles in the student loan scheme.