The Scientific Process of Student Loan Fraud


During the years of grade school and college, test day likely produced anxiety and dread in students. Whether you stayed up all night studying or never opened the book, the moment that test was placed on your desk, it was ”game on.’? According to an article in The State, it was ”game on” for a college test proctor found guilty of student aid fraud.

Let’s travel back to school; you are sitting in science class, analyzing a problem using the scientific method. The process begins with a research topic that is funneled down into a question you seek to answer. Here’s the question: ”How can a test proctor defraud the federal government of student aid money?” (Don’t jump to conclusions? There is a process!)The next step is to research the topic to form your hypothesis. While this article doesn’t lend space for a built out research step, we do know student loan fraud is on the rise in the U.S. In addition, we know that a test proctor has a means of defrauding the government due to the power they hold in their responsibility to monitor placement tests. (But, who would take advantage of such a position?) With our research, we can form a hypothesis, such as? ”If the test proctor utilizes her powers to monitor placement tests, then she will be able to defraud the federal government of student aid money.” (Well class, we are halfway there.)

We can’t stop at a hypothesis – we must find the answer to our question. This leads us to testing the hypothesis by an experiment – provided to us courtesy of our former South Carolina test proctor and convicted fraudster. (Can we get a round of applause for our volunteer?) Using her ability to monitor placement tests, the woman charged individuals approximately $300 to take the test for the person seeking aid, ensuring the student received a passing grade. Once the students received financial aid, they would not attend the course, and instead used the money to pay for personal expenses.(In science, this is where we say ”Eureka!”) Nearing the end of our process, we must gather and analyze our data. It is estimated that nearly $50,000 was stolen between 2010 and 2012, as a result of this scam. In fact, one individual involved in the scam stole $9,000. In our final step, we are able to conclude? ”A test proctor can utilize her powers to take placement tests for others, ensuring a passing grade and receiving financial aid that is then used for personal expenses.”Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Ringlead of Upstate Financial Aid Fraud Scheme Sentenced to 13 Months in Prison,” written by Darren Rice, published by The State on March 20, 2013.

SPARTANBURG, SC — The West Columbia woman who lead a financial aid fraud scheme involving Piedmont Technical College was sentenced Wednesday to 13 months in a federal prison, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office release.

Fiasha A. Paul, 26, was pleaded guilty in December to mail fraud in a conspiracy to collect student loan money for personal use.

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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.