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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 7, 2013

Cambridge Man Sentenced To Prison For Attempting To Steal 529 Plan College Savings Funds

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BOSTON - A Cambridge man was sentenced today for stealing the identification information of five parents in an attempt to raid the college savings accounts they had created for their children.

Mohammed Gisan, 26, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge George A. O’Toole to six months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release. In May 2012, Gisan pleaded guilty to five counts of identity theft.

From October to May 2011, Gisan worked as a temporary employee at Upromise Investments, Inc., a division of Sallie Mae, in Newton. While at Upromise, Gisan had access to the company’s records, and he used that access to obtain and remove personal information about customers who had established college savings accounts, known as 529 plans, for their children. Immediately after Gisan’s assignment at Upromise was terminated, he used the personal information he had obtained to configure five of these accounts for internet access. Gisan intended to then transfer these funds to an online bank account that he would have controlled, but he was prevented from completing his plan due to security and loss prevention measures taken by Upromise and the actions of a vigilant customer.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz, Steven D. Ricciardi, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service, and Commissioner Robert C. Hass of the Cambridge Police Department made the announcement today. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy Harman Burkart of Ortiz’s Cybercrime Unit.