California Dreaming and Scheming


The ”California Dream” is associated with the notion of becoming wealthy and famous in a short period of time. The idea is linked to the Gold Rush of 1849, where many opportunists traveled West in hopes of ”striking it rich.” (California, here I come!) Many people follow their dreams to Hollywood, where they also seek fame and fortune in the movie industry. Then, there are some unscrupulous California residents who schemed their way into a small fortune through student aid fraud, as reported on, the Kero – Bakersfield ABC News website.

The story details that the defendants in three cases enrolled themselves and others as students in online university or community college courses and submitted falsified financial aid applications. These fraudsters did not qualify for federal student aid and they had no intention of attending college. (Now there’s a surprise.) Yet, they were able to obtain federal financial aid funds to which they were not entitled. In some instances, the defendants used stolen or wrongfully obtained personal identification information for victims without their knowledge. In one case, more than $200,000 in grants and loans were paid out. Of that amount, approximately $110,000 went to the defendants. (I’d call that pretty rich.)

Now for the punishment. (Beware of get rich quick schemes – they usually don’t work.) In one case, two defendants were sentenced to 25 and 28 months, respectively. Defendants from another case got off fairly easy with only four years probation, while the remaining defendants have yet to be sentenced.

As college students return to school this month, the Department of Justice is cracking down on student loan fraud in California by sending a strong message? fraud against student assistance programs will not be tolerated. Those who prevent federal aid funds from being disbursed to those who legitimately qualify for it will most likely find themselves in a prison cell, not a classroom.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article posted on, the Kero – Bakersfield ABC News website, titled, ”DOJ Cracks Down on Student Loan Fraud in Three Cases with $110K Paid to Some Defendants,” published on September 16, 2013.

FRESNO, Calif. – The Department of Justice cracks down on student loan fraud in three cases.

Yvette Maura August, 53, of Atwater, and Kim Rene Gray, 51, of Los Banos, were sentenced Monday for student aid fraud.

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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.