OIG Investigative Reports Press Release Madison. WI., 07/09/2014 - Cousins Sentenced for Role in Student Loan Fraud Scheme 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 THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE WESTERN DISTRICT of WISCONSIN NEWS Cousins Sentenced for Role in Student Loan Fraud Scheme FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 09, 2014 MADISON, WIS. -- John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Valencia Jenkins, 33, Lithonia, Ga., and her cousin Ricco Jenkins, 37, Chicago, were sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Lynn S. Adelman for their roles in defrauding the Federal Student Aid program. Valencia Jenkins was sentenced to 14 months in federal prison, and Ricco Jenkins was sentenced to one year and a day in federal prison. The court also ordered each defendant to serve three years of supervised release upon release from prison and to pay $417,722 in restitution. On June 5, 2103, a federal grand jury sitting in Madison returned an 11-count indictment charging the two defendants and Valencia Jenkins’ sister -- Sharhondalynn Lathan, 30, also of Lithonia, Ga. -- with mail fraud and identity theft arising from an eight-year scheme to defraud the Federal Student Aid program. Valencia Jenkins and Sharhondalynn Lathan each pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud on December 17, 2013. On March 6, 2014, Ricco Jenkins pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud. On April 15, 2014, Sharhondalynn Lathan was sentenced to six months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $417,722 in restitution. From January 2003 through March 2011, the defendants used in excess of 20 persons’ personal identifiers to fraudulently apply for federal student financial aid and thereby defrauded the United States of over $400,000. The three defendants admitted receiving financial aid for which they were not eligible and also admitted using the funds for purposes unrelated to post-secondary education. None of the three defendants has a high school diploma or general education development (GED) certificate. Valencia Jenkins and Sharhondalynn Lathan assisted family members, friends, and others in obtaining financial aid for which they were not eligible. Ricco Jenkins participated in the scheme and referred people to Valencia Jenkins to apply for financial aid. The U.S. Department of Education’s mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access. Fraud rings mainly target lower cost institutions because federal student aid awards easily satisfy tuition there, resulting in a higher award balance paid to the student, intended for educational expenses such as books and room and board. The award balance is what the fraud ring participants seek. But they have no intention of pursuing a degree, and often are not even eligible for federal student aid because they do not have a legitimate high school diploma or GED. The charges against Valencia Jenkins and Ricco Jenkins were the result of an investigation conducted by Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The prosecution of the case has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter M. Jarosz. Top Printable view Last Modified: 07/11/2014 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. Student Loans Repaying Loans Defaulted Loans Loan Forgiveness Loan Servicers Grants & Programs Apply for Pell Grants Grants Forecast Open Grant Competitions Find Grant Programs by Eligibility Laws & Guidance No Child Left Behind FERPA Civil Rights Data & Research Education Statistics Postsecondary Education Data State Education Data Nation's Report Card What Works Clearinghouse About Us Contact Us ED Offices Jobs News FAQs Budget, Performance Notices FOIAPrivacySecurityInformation qualityInspector GeneralWhitehouse.govUSA.govBenefits.govRegulations.gov
Cousins Sentenced for Role in Student Loan Fraud Scheme. Madison, WI., July 09, 2014
Published by the Department of Education, Office of Inspector General on 2014-07-09.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report.