School of Hard Knocks

Colorful portrait collage of many smiling faces

If you want to lose the respect of your peers, steal their personal information and use it to apply for student loans you don’t deserve. That’s what today’s fraudster did to fund her doctorate degree.

A 64-year-old retired high school teacher stole and used the personal identifying information of three of her former co-workers from a school district in which she had worked 27 years. (Now let’s just stop right there. Why would someone that age want to spend hours upon hours doing research and defending her dissertation when she could be enjoying full retirement?)

Apparently, the woman had a poor credit record and was denied federal student aid, so she thought she’d get greedy with someone else’s credit. There’s just one small problem, she needed a willing participant to sign an “endorser addendum” agreeing to pay back her student loan if she defaulted. (Here’s some good advice: if anything is worth having, it’s worth saving for. It’s best not to co-sign on someone else ‘s loan.)

The woman obtained $93,994 in student loans by using the identities of her three co-workers without their knowledge or consent and tried to get an additional $150,000 before she was caught. (She submitted the false endorsements online.)

The retired teacher pleaded guilty to multiple counts of student loan, wire and aggravated identity fraud. As part of her plea agreement, she will pay $123,732 in restitution to the Department of Education. When sentenced, she is looking at a maximum of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release.

In spite of the fact that this woman was an educator, she did not make smart choices. (She may have been intelligent enough to pursue a doctorate degree, but she was lacking in common sense.) Not only did she steal from the government loan program, but she also stole from students who were deserving of and qualified for a higher education degree. What’s even worse is that she ruined her co-worker’s credit. It looks like the Ph.D. is out of this woman’s reach and the only learning institution she’ll be headed for is the “School of Hard Knocks.” (There goes her retirement too.)

Source: Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, “Retired teacher pleads guilty to student loan fraud, illegally using coworkers’ IDs,” published by The Telegraph on March 15, 2017.

A retired Southwest High School teacher pleaded guilty Wednesday to defrauding the U.S. Department of Education through student loan fraud.

Queen Adebovejo 64, of Perry, admitted that she fraudulently obtained federal student loans by using the personal identifying information of three former Bibb County school coworkers, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia.

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.