Former State Department Employee Sentenced to Prison for Student Loan Fraud
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A Georgia man was sentenced to 15 months in prison today for fraudulently discharging over $250,000 in student loan debt.
In addition to the prison sentence, Corey Cadet Dukes, 39, of Jonesboro, was ordered to pay $244,884.31 in restitution to victims of his crimes, and to a three-year term of supervised release following his prison sentence.
According to court documents, Dukes, formerly of Alexandria, was an employee of the U.S. Department of State from 2013-2017. Simultaneously, Dukes was also a full-time supervisor for a security company providing protection to a federal building in Washington, D.C. Nevertheless, Dukes applied through the Department of Education for a Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) discharge of over $200,000 in student loan debt, affirming that he was unable to work and was earning no income.
The Department of Education conditionally discharged Dukes’ student loans subject to successful completion of a three-year income monitoring period, which required that TPD applicants not earn over the Federal Poverty Guidelines for a family of two, which was no higher than $16,020. Earned income over that amount triggered a repayment obligation and the loans would be reinstated. After failing to respond to multiple requests for proof of income, in October 2016 Dukes submitted a signed self-certification stating: “I, Corey Dukes, did not have any earned income from May 1, 2013 – October 13, 2016.” In reality, during this same period Dukes had earned over $331,000 from his two full-time jobs, and had purchased a Bentley, a Porsche, and other luxury vehicles. The Department of Education permanently discharged over $250,000 of Dukes’ student loan debt.
Court documents revealed that approximately two years later, in June 2018, Dukes discharged an additional $300,000 in personal debt in a Bankruptcy Court in Georgia. Around the time of the bankruptcy proceeding, and at the same time the Department of Veterans Affairs increased his disability rating to 100 percent and ordered Dukes to be given additional benefits, Dukes traveled extensively on vacations, including to Paris, Amsterdam, The Bahamas, Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, and Cabo San Lucas, among others.
Court documents also revealed that during the period of time from 2013-2018, Dukes also submitted numerous false and misleading statements to the Department of Veterans Affairs in order to obtain first an 80 percent disability rating based on migraine headaches, then a 100 percent disability rating, based in part on a PTSD claim. Documents filed in court show that Dukes had an insider in the VA email him confidential VA adjudication criteria for PTSD that he then used in order to obtain a PTSD rating. At the same time he was working two full-time jobs and engaging in foreign travel, Dukes informed the VA he was unable to work or to function independently.
G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Steve A. Linick, Inspector General of the State Department, Kathleen S. Tighe, Inspector General of the Department of Education, Matthew J. DeSarno, Special Agent in Charge, Criminal Division, FBI Washington Field Office, and Michael J. Missal, Inspector General, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kimberly R. Pedersen and Karen L. Taylor, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys Russell L. Carlberg and Brian D. Harrison.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:18-cr-298.