Four Sentenced In Federal Student Aid Fraud Ring
PHOENIX – Jardon Laforcarde, 28, of Phoenix, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton to 30 months’ imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for his role in a federal student aid fraud ring that included three others. Laforcarde pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to defraud the U. S. Department of Education of $369,589 in student aid funds. The three other participants pleaded guilty to the same conspiracy and were also recently sentenced: Ramon Meneses, 25, of Phoenix, received 54 months’ imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release; his wife, Bobbie Robertson-Meneses, 31, of Phoenix, received five years of probation with 12 months of home incarceration; and Dorothy Taylor, 50, of Phoenix, received 24 months’ imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release.
“Federal student loan programs are seriously undermined every year by fraudulently-obtained student aid funds,” said John S. Leonardo, United States Attorney for the District of Arizona. “The prison sentences imposed in this case reflect the seriousness of the offenses committed by these fraud rings and should serve as a warning to others who are contemplating the same type of fraudulent activity.”
Laforcarde, Meneses, Robertson-Meneses, and Taylor all conspired to enroll fictitious students in online college courses and submit fraudulent online applications for federal student aid in the names of those fictitious students. Laforcarde and Meneses, who were serving sentences in state prison at the time, obtained the personal identifying information of other prison inmates whose identities could then be used as the fictitious students. Robertson-Meneses and Taylor, who both have prior convictions but were not in prison at the time, used that information to complete the on-line enrollment forms. The fictitious students were awarded $369,589 in federal loan funds and Pell grants, and $254,891 was disbursed before the fraud was detected and stopped. The funds went to Robertson-Meneses and Taylor, who shared them with Laforcarde and Meneses. All four were ordered to pay restitution to the U.S. Department of Education.
The investigation in this case was conducted by the Department of Education, Office of Inspector General. The prosecution was handled by Monica Klapper, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Phoenix.
CASE NUMBER: CR-13-0291-PHX-SRB
RELEASE NUMBER: 2014-073_ Laforcarde et al
For more information on the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/az/
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