Family Connection

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There are times when a family connection is helpful. (It doesn’t hurt to have a personal reference when applying for a job or entrance into an institution of higher learning.) An article published in the Merced Sun-Star tells about a family connection to a student loan fraud scheme that bilked more than $200,000 from the U.S. Department of Education.

The article explains that the niece of several defendants convicted earlier in the same student loan fraud scheme also participated in the family’s illegal activities. She used stolen identity information to illegally apply for and receive student grants and loan. (As you might guess, the owners of the stolen identity information had no intention of attending either of the two universities she submitted applications to nor did they need college financial aid.) More than $200,000 in grants and loans was disbursed as a result of her criminal actions. (That’s a lot of money that qualified students will not receive to further their education.)

The 33-year old woman pleaded guilty to mail fraud and aggravated identity theft. She faces up to 20 years in prison plus a $250,000 fine for mail fraud. She may also receive a two-year prison term for aggravated identity theft when sentenced.

While family connections can be beneficial, this woman’s link to her criminal relatives turned out to be detrimental. This woman did have a choice even though it is true that you can choose your friends, but not your relatives. (Unfortunately, she chose to follow in the steps of her criminal relatives and will now have to pay a high price for that decision.)

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Atwater Woman Pleads Guilty in Federal Fraud Scheme,” published by the Merced Sun-Star on May 4, 2015.

A 33-year-old Atwater woman pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to criminal charges in connection with a $200,000 bogus student loan scheme, the U.S. Department of Justice reported.

Sherise L. Woolridge, 33, pleaded guilty to mail fraud and aggravated identity theft for a scheme to obtain student grants and loans, U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner announced in a news release.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.