FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
THURSDAY - September 25, 2008
FOUR INDICTED IN STUDENT LOAN FRAUD
WILMINGTON - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that a Federal Grand Jury returned a 34-count Criminal Indictment yesterday charging MELISSA RENEE HEGGIE, 29, of Grimesland, North Carolina; MARVIN R. HEGGIE, 27, of Raleigh, North Carolina; TRAVIS S. HUNTER, 28, of Grimesland, North Carolina; and DERRICK KING, 23, of Aurora, North Carolina, with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, which carries a maximum penalty of up to five years imprisonment, and/or up to a $250,000 fine, and three years supervised release following imprisonment and mail fraud and aiding and abetting, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1341 and 2, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment followed by three years supervised release and up to a $250,000 fine. MELISSA, MARVIN, and HUNTER were also charged with wire fraud and aiding and abetting, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1343 and 2, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment followed by three years supervised release and up to a $250,000 fine. Additionally, MELISSA and MARVIN have been charged with making false statements on loan applications and aiding and abetting, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1014 and 2, which carries a maximum penalty of 30 years imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release and up to a $1,000,000 fine; and aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A, which carries a penalty of two years imprisonment consecutive to any other sentence imposed followed by one year of supervised release and up to a $250,000 fine.
According to the Indictment, from approximately June, 2007, through March, 2008, MELISSA, her brother, MARVIN, HUNTER, and KING,< conspired to obtain approximately $1.2 million in student loans from JP Morgan Chase by submitting fraudulent documents. The HEGGIES recruited individuals to provide their social security card and identification. Once the individuals supplied MELISSA and MARVIN the appropriate documents, a student loan application would be submitted to Chase Bank via the internet using the information provided by the individuals. Chase Bank would approve the application and request further documents including a Chase Loan Application/Promissory Note, copies of the social security card, and identification. The Chase Loan Application/Promissary Note requested information including address, employment, college attending, and amount of loan requested. MELISSA and/or MARVIN would complete the paperwork with the individuals correct name and social security number, but falsify other information to include school attending, employment information, and street address. MELISSA and MARVIN would sign the individuals names verifying that the information on the application was true and then faxed the Loan Application/Promissory Note along with a copy of the social security card, driver’s license, a fraudulent billing statement from ECU, and fraudulent W2 forms, and other falsified documentation to JP Morgan Chase located in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Within days a check would be sent via United States Postal Service from JP Morgan Chase and arrive at one of three addresses provided on the application. Once MELISSA and MARVIN received the check, they would contact the individuals and tell them the check arrived. They would then meet at a check cashing facility to cash the check. The individuals would keep half the proceeds and give the other half to MELISSA and/or MARVIN. The checks ranged from $10,000.00 to $28,300.00.
Mr. Holding commented, “This crime hits at the heart of an important program which provides student loans and financial aid money to deserving students. This prosecution is an effort to make sure this program is handled properly and funds are made available to those truly eligible.”
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
Investigation of the case was conducted by the United States Postal Inspection Service. Assistant United States Attorney Felice McConnell Corpening served as prosecutor for the government.
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