Four Individuals Plead Guilty in Multimillion-Dollar Scheme to Defraud U.S. Department of Education Federal Financial Aid Programs | OPA

Four persons pleaded responsible now to conspiring to defraud the Section of Education’s economic support plans of millions of dollars in federal resources.

According to court docket paperwork and statements produced in relationship with their responsible pleas, Sandra Anderson, 63, of Palmetto, Ga Yolanda Thomas, 51, of Columbus, Georgia Leo Thomas, 56, of Phenix City, Alabama Kristina Parker, 35, of Stone Mountain, Georgia and their co-conspirators fraudulently received tens of millions of bucks in federal economical aid resources that they misused for their own benefit. They did so by creating an elaborate sham college – the Columbus, Ga, satellite campus of the Apex Faculty of Theology.

As section of their responsible pleas, the co-conspirators admitted that, at Anderson’s way, they enrolled folks at Apex who agreed to pose as pupils, figuring out that individuals people did not qualify to enroll in college or graduate college. The co-conspirators then fraudulently completed economic assist programs in students’ names and completed students’ homework and tests. The co-conspirators also served as lecturers and manipulated pupil grades to make sure that the purported college students could meet up with the bare minimum quality specifications to go on to qualify for federal economic help. Then, the co-conspirators possibly stole scholar economical support refund checks outright or required college students to income their aid checks and provide a portion to the co-conspirators.

Anderson, Yolanda Thomas, and Parker each and every pleaded responsible to just one count of conspiracy to dedicate wire fraud, five counts of wire fraud, and four counts of fiscal support fraud. They each individual facial area a utmost penalty of 20 many years in jail on each of the conspiracy and wire fraud expenses, and five a long time in jail on each of the fiscal assist fraud prices. Leo Thomas pleaded guilty to a single depend of conspiracy to dedicate wire fraud and faces a maximum penalty of 20 many years in jail. All defendants are scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 15. A federal district court docket decide will identify any sentence just after contemplating the U.S. Sentencing Recommendations and other statutory factors.

Assistant Attorney Normal Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Legal Division U.S. Legal professional Peter D. Leary for the Middle District of Georgia Distinctive Agent in Demand Keri E. Farley of the FBI Atlanta Subject Office environment Particular Agent in Demand Reginald J. France of the Department of Education and learning Place of work of Inspector Standard (ED-OIG), Southeastern Regional Business and Unique Agent in Demand James E. Dorsey of the IRS Felony Investigation (IRS-CI) created the announcement.

The FBI, ED-OIG, and IRS-CI are investigating the situation.

Assistant Main Leslie S. Garthwaite and Demo Lawyers Matt Kahn, Siji Moore, and Spencer Ryan of the Legal Division’s Fraud Part are prosecuting the circumstance, with useful help from the U.S. Attorney’s Business office for the Center District of Georgia.