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Press Release

Laplace Woman Charged With Theft of More Than $280,000 in Federal Student Aid

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS - United States Attorney Peter G. Strasser announced that ASHLY HOWARD (“HOWARD”), age 33, of LaPlace, Louisiana, was charged November 24, 2020 by a Bill of Information for Theft of Government Funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641 and Identity Theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028(a)(7).

According to the Bill of Information, beginning in 2018 and through 2019, HOWARD fraudulently submitted Free Applications for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and/or Master Promissory Notes (MPN) in individuals’ names in an effort to obtain federal financial aid. HOWARD facilitated the submission of thirty (30) applications for admission to Nunez Community College in Chalmette, Louisiana in these individuals’ names. HOWARD facilitated the creation of debit cards in these individuals’ names so that the student loan proceeds could be disbursed. HOWARD accepted the grants and student loans and used the federal financial aid funds under the names of these individuals; some with, and some without, their knowledge or consent. Accordingly, HOWARD fraudulently received approximately $280,000 in Department of Education funds she was not entitled to receive.

U.S. Attorney Strasser reiterated that the Bill of Information is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

If convicted, HOWARD faces a maximum penalty of fifteen (15) years imprisonment, followed by up to three (3) years of supervised release, a fine of up to $250,000.00, and a mandatory $100 special assessment.

U.S. Attorney Strasser praised the work of the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Inspector General.  The prosecution of this case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn McHugh.

Updated November 25, 2020

Financial Fraud