News and Press Releases

Cranberry Township Woman Pleads Guilty in Student Loan Fraud Scheme

April 25, 2013

PITTSBURGH, Pa. - A resident of Cranberry Township, Pa., pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of bank fraud and mail fraud, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Meredith Shuster, 36, pleaded guilty to two counts before United States District Judge Mark R. Hornak.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Shuster fraudulently obtained $729,000 in private lender student loans through using the identities and financial information of her parents.

Judge Hornak scheduled sentencing for Aug. 8, 2013 at 9:30 a.m. The law provides for a total sentence of 50 years in prison, a fine of $500,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Pending sentencing, the court continued Shuster on bond.

Assistant United States Attorney Robert S. Cessar is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The United States Postal Inspection Service, Postal Inspector Molly Hackimer, the Department of Education, Office of Inspector General and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Meredith L. Shuster.

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