Community Colleges Targeted in Financial Aid Fraud Scheme
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Ernest Xavier Taylor, Jr., 31, and Tracie Laverne Mixon, 34, both of Hammond, Louisiana, were indicted by a federal grand jury today on charges relating to stealing the identities of four people to fraudulently obtain federal student loans from Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) and other schools.
According to the indictment, Taylor Jr. and Mixon are charged with conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, financial aid fraud, and aggravated identity theft. In 2015, Taylor Jr. and Mixon engaged in a conspiracy to use the identity of four different people to fraudulently obtain federal student aid from NVCC and other schools. The four different people included three who were in prison at the time their identities were used, and the fourth person was recovering in a military hospital after suffering injuries while deployed as a member of the U.S. Army in Afghanistan.
The indictment alleges that Taylor Jr. and Mixon would use the names, dates of birth, and social security numbers of these four different people on various submissions, but Taylor Jr. and Mixon would supply their own addresses, emails, and telephone numbers to ensure that communications from the Department of Education, NVCC, and the other schools would be directed to Taylor Jr. and Mixon. The indictment also alleges that recorded telephone calls captured Taylor Jr. pretending to be the four different identities when calling to check on the status of financial aid from NVCC. Taylor Jr. and Mixon’s fraudulent actions allegedly caused NVCC and other schools to offer approximately $67,000 in federal student aid to the various identities used by Taylor Jr. and Mixon.
In addition to NVCC, the other schools targeted by Taylor Jr. and Mixon are: Front Range Community College; Community College of Denver; Portland Community College; and Black Hills State University.
Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brian D. Harrison and Edward P. Sullivan are prosecuting the case. The case is being investigated by the Department of Education, Office of Inspector General and the FBI. The investigation received assistance from the Northern Virginia Community College Police Department.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:16-CR-118.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.