Office of the United States Attorney, John S. Leonardo
District of Arizona
December 4, 2012
FOUR PHOENIX WOMEN SENTENCED ON FEDERAL STUDENT AID FRAUD CHARGES
PHOENIX – On December 3, 2012, U.S. District Judge Neil V. Wake sentenced Elizabeth Meza, 33, Analisa Delgado, 39, and Denise Wheeler, 44, all from Phoenix, for a federal student loan fraud scheme they orchestrated during the 2010-11 school year. The scheme resulted in the submission of fraudulent applications for more than $150,000 in federal student aid. On November 5, 2012, Judge Wake sentenced Sandra Lopez, 25, also of Phoenix, for her role in the scheme.
Meza was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for her role as the leader of the scheme. Meza falsely enrolled straw students in on-line college courses at Rio Salado College and then submitted on-line applications for federal student aid based on those false applications. Meza used the student aid funds for herself and for others involved in the scheme. Meza was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release following her prison sentence, and was ordered to pay $44,450 in restitution to the U.S. Department of Education.
Delgado, who was serving a prison sentence in the Arizona Department of Corrections when she participated in the scheme, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. Delgado supplied the names and personal identifying information of fellow inmates to Meza for use in the scheme. Delgado was also ordered to pay $11,972 in restitution.
Wheeler and Lopez, each of whom provided straw student information to Meza or Delgado for use in the scheme, were sentenced to three and five years of probation, respectively.
The investigation in this case was conducted by the U.S. Department of Education and the FDIC - Office of Inspector General. The prosecution was conducted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Monica Klapper, District of Arizona, Phoenix.
CASE NUMBER: CR-12-0859-PHX-NVW
RELEASE NUMBER: 2012-231(Meza, Delgado, Wheeler, Lopez)
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For more information on the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/az/