News and Press Releases

Defendants Plead Guilty to Education Loan Fraud

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 30, 2013

Contact Person: Bill Day (803) 929-3000

Columbia, South Carolina -----United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that Belverly Anderson Graham, age 23, Brittany Yvonne Washington, age 24, both of Scranton, South Carolina, Pharish Aldophous Pinckney, age 28, Belinda Wilson Pinckney, age 23, Stacy Adams, age 33, and Willis Leon Floyd, age 24, all of Coward, South Carolina, have entered guilty pleas in federal court in Florence, to education loan fraud, a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371.  United States District Judge R. Bryan Harwell of Florence accepted the guilty pleas and will impose sentences after he has reviewed the presentence reports which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.

Evidence was presented at the change of plea hearing to establish that Graham, Washington, Pinckney, Pinckney, Adams, and Floyd, provided their personal information to a co-defendant so they could be enrolled in an on-line school and receive money. A Federal Application for Student Aid was submitted which falsely stated the defendants would use any money received to attend school and that they would repay the money. Federal Financial Aid was paid to the defendants but they did not attend school or repay the money.

Mr. Nettles stated the maximum penalty these defendants can receive is a fine of $250,000.00 and/or imprisonment for 5 years, plus a special assessment of $100.00.

The case was investigated by agents of the Department of Education, Office of Inspector General, and agents of the United States Secret Service.  Assistant United States Attorney Bill Day of the office handled the case.

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