FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
TUESDAY - May 5, 2009
TWO DEFENDANTS SENTENCED IN FRAUD SCHEME
RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court today United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced MELISSA RENEE HEGGIE, 29, of Grimesland, North Carolina to 62 months’ imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release. Restitution in the amount of $408,900.00 was imposed. Her co-conspirator, TRAVIS S. HUNTER, 28, of Greenville, North Carolina, received 24 month’s imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release. Restitution in the amount of $28,000.00 was imposed.
On September 24, 2008, a Federal Grand Jury returned an Indictment charging HEGGIE and HUNTER along with HEGGIE’s brother, Marvin R. Heggie and Derrick King. HEGGIE and HUNTER pled guilty to conspiring to commit wire and mail fraud and aiding and abetting wire fraud, on November 24, 2008, and February 9, 2009, respectively. Additionally, HEGGIE pled to aiding and abetting mail fraud and aggravated identity theft.
From June, 2007, to March, 2008, the defendants were involved in a scheme to defraud JP Morgan Chase Bank out of money by submitting fraudulent student loan applications to Chase Bank.
HEGGIE and her brother recruited approximately 14 people, including HUNTER, to provide their social security numbers and other identifying information by telling them they could make some quick money by applying for a loan. Once the individuals supplied HEGGIE and/or her brother with their social security card and identification, a student loan application would be submitted to Chase Bank via the Internet using the information provided by the individuals. The application would contain false information including the individual’s status as a college student. After all of the paperwork was complete, a check would be mailed via U.S. Mail from JP Morgan Chase to the applicant, but to an address used by HEGGIE and her brother. HEGGIE or her brother would then contact the applicant and all would go to cash the check.
The investigation also revealed that HEGGIE secured a driver’s license in the name of one of the individual’s name that provided her social security card and identification. HEGGIE then used that identification to secure a loan in the amount of $28,000.00.
During the course of the scheme, JP Morgan Chase was defrauded out of over $340,000.00.
Mr. Holding stated, “The Student Loan Program was designed to help deserving students obtain an education as the key to a bright and successful future. Schemes like this deprive deserving students of this type of assistance and undermine support for these programs. Thus, we are pleased with the Court’s sentence and we hope it will discourage others from committing similar offenses.”
Marvin R. Heggie and King were sentenced on February 23, 2009, and March 18, 2009, respectively.
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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