OIG Investigative Reports, Former Vocational Rehabilitation Provider Sentenced To Prison For Fraudulent Claims Against The Government Skip to main contentAbout UsContact UsFAQs Language Assistance Englishespañol中文: 繁體版Việt-ngữ한국어TagalogРусский U.S. Department of Education Search for: Toggle navigation U.S. Department of Education Student Loans Grants Laws Data About ED OFFICES Home Reports & Resources Programs/Initiatives News Office Contacts Investigation Report U.S. Department of Justice Dennis C. Pfannenschmidt United States Attorney Middle District of Pennsylvania Ronald Reagan Federal Building 228 Walnut Street P.O. Box 11754, Suite 220 Harrisburg, PA 17108-1754 (717) 221-4482 Fax: (717) 221-2246 or (717) 221-4493 For Immediate Release: September 3, 2009 ` Federal, State and Law Enforcement Officials Announce Results of a Million Dollar Student Loan Fraud Prosecution Initiative Dennis Pfannenschmidt, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Mary Mitchelson, Acting Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Education, and John B. Whitcomb, Manager of Investigations, Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, jointly announced the latest developments in a multi-agency effort to combat educational loan frauds throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. According to Mr. Pfannenschmidt on August 27, 2009, Steven Phillips, age 38,of Huntington, West Virginia, was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, and ordered to make restitution totaling $344,908.00 following his guilty plea conviction on federal student loan fraud charges arising out of a scheme in which Phillips was alleged to have used the identities of innocent third parties to apply for more than $340,000 in federal educational benefits. Phillips was also ordered to serve two years of supervised release following his jail term for this student loan fraud offense. Mr. Pfannenschmidt stated that the conviction of Steven Phillips is only the latest success in an on-going law enforcement initiative aimed at ensuring integrity in federal education programs. This initiative has been spearheaded by the United States Department of Education, Office of Inspector General, and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA), throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This joint state and federal law enforcement partnership has yielded extraordinary results according to federal officials which more than a dozen defendants charged federally or in state courts over the past year for their roles in educational frauds which resulted in more than $1,000,000 in losses. As a result of this unprecedented partnership, the following individuals have been charged in recent months in federal and state courts for their involvement in educational frauds in Pennsylvania: DEFENDANTS LOCATION LOSSES Raymond Johnson Middle District of Pennsylvania $142,934 Steven Phillips & Angela Clay Middle District of Pennsylvania $344,908 John & Laura LaSota Middle District of Pennsylvania $196,000 Sheri Husted Western District of Pennsylvania $21,176 Brian Fazio Middle District of Pennsylvania $102,109 Linda Abshear, Amanda Johnson & Charles Caudell Warren County, Ohio Prosecutor $120,730 Mary Casey Middle District of Pennsylvania $88,024 Stevenson Clesidor Middle District of Pennsylvania $57,050 Carol Hines Butler County District Attorney $32,000 Sonya Stockton Middle District of Pennsylvania $27,500 Pearl Dunlap Middle District of Pennsylvania $134,888 Approximate Total $1,267,319 In announcing these results, Mr. Pfannenschmidt stated: "All Americans are entitled to enjoy the educational opportunities provided through the United States Department of Education and its partner, the Pennsylvania higher Education Assistance Agency. When unscrupulous people turn these educational programs into vehicles for fraud, it is the responsibility of law enforcement to step in, and take firm action. The prosecutions which we are highlighting today underscore our commitment to aggressive, effective law enforcement in this vitally important field." Mr. Pfannenschmidt went on to commend the Department of Education Office of Inspector General, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency and the other local, state and federal law enforcement agencies involved in this initiative for their tireless efforts in this area. The United States Department of Education also emphasized the importance of this initiative. "I want to commend OIG Special Agents and our partners in the Educational Loan Project whose diligent efforts not only brought about today's action, but have led to the prosecution of more than a dozen individuals who fraudulently obtained more than $1 million in student financial aid. Not one of these individuals thought they would get caught. Every one of them was wrong," said Mary Mitchelson, Acting Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Education. "We will to continue to work with our colleagues to aggressively pursue anyone who steals or fraudulently obtains student financial aid." Top Printable view Last Modified: 09/09/2009 How Do I Find... Student loans, forgiveness College accreditation No Child Left Behind FERPA FAFSA 1098-E Tax Form 2015 Budget Proposal More > Information About... Transforming Teaching Family and Community Engagement Early Learning K-12 Reforms More > Connect Facebook Twitter YouTube Email RSS Google+ More > MISUSED FOIA OIG Fraud Hotline Our mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access. 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Federal, State and Law Enforcement Officials Announce Results of A Million Dollar Student Loan Fraud Prosecution Initiative. Harrisburg, PA, September 3, 2009
Published by the Department of Education, Office of Inspector General on 2009-09-03.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report.