Former Nelnet Employee Sentenced to 12 Months in Prison
United States Attorney Deborah R. Gilg announced that Jovita Diane Benford, 23, formerly of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was sentenced today in Lincoln, Nebraska, to twelve months and one day in prison by United States District Judge Richard G. Kopf, for unauthorized computer access. In addition, Benford was ordered to pay a $100 special assessment and will serve three years of supervised release upon completion of her prison sentence.
Benford was employed at Nelnet offices in Lincoln, Nebraska, and had access to a number of different databases containing information pertaining to student loan borrowers. Benford would access the information in the database computers in order to service student loans. Benford knew that her authority to access the computers, and to make use of the information stored in them, was strictly restricted to work-related purposes. On October 18, 2010, Benford utilized the personal information of several student loan borrowers to submit loan applications online in an effort to obtain money for herself. She did not succeed in actually securing any loans.This case was investigated by the United States Department of Education.