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Press Release

New Orleans Woman Pleads Guilty To Theft of More Than $280,000 in Federal Student Aid

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

NEW ORLEANS - The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana, announced that ASHLY HOWARD (“HOWARD”), age 33, of New Orleans, Louisiana, pled guilty on February 18, 2021 in federal court before U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon to 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 court documents, 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.

The Court set sentencing in this matter for May 27, 2021.  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 per count.

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 February 19, 2021

Financial Fraud
Identity Theft