A Danville, Virginia woman, who used the personal identifying information of others to submit and receive fraudulent student loans, pled guilty this week in federal court.
Karren Warren, 43, waived her right to be indicted and pleaded guilty today to one count of student loan fraud and one count of unlawful transfer or possession of identification affecting interstate commerce.
According to court documents, between 2013 and 2018, Warren devised a scheme to defraud the United States Department of Education (USDOE), the American Public University System (APUS) and Capella University by preparing and submitting false FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) forms.
Warren admitted to recruiting others to provide her with their personal identifying information, which she then used to prepare and submit fraudulent enrollment applications to USDOE, APUS, and Capella.
Once the financial aid was obtained, Warren enrolled the individuals, whose names had been submitted using the false FAFSAs, in online educational institutions. Most individuals enrolled in this manner either did not participate or withdrew from the courses. Warren then converted the federal financial aid funds for her personal use, thus failing to use the funds solely for education-related expenses as required by USDOE.
In all, Warren caused a loss of at least $264,000 to APUS, Capella, and the USDOE.
Warren faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh of the Western District of Virginia made the announcement.
The United States Department of Education and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigated the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Charlene R. Day is prosecuting the case.