Former Suffolk University Employee Pleads Guilty to Stealing Over $40,000 in Student Loans by Changing Grades
BOSTON – A Suffolk University employee pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Boston in connection with fraudulently obtaining over $40,000 in federal student loan funds by falsifying her own records to make it appear that she was a Suffolk University graduate student when in fact she was not.
Ashley Ciampa, 28, of Medford, pleaded guilty today to student loan fraud. U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor, IV scheduled sentencing for Oct. 5, 2016.
In 2009, Ciampa began working in the Registrar’s Office at Suffolk University. In 2013, she enrolled in Suffolk’s MBA program free of charge as an employee. In a first-semester business ethics class, Ciampa failed to attend class or complete the required coursework, but instead used her computer access in the Registrar’s Office to assign herself an “A” for the course. In subsequent semesters, she repeatedly assigned herself passing grades for classes she never attended. By maintaining the appearance that she was a graduate student, she was able to borrow $47,453 in federal student loans beginning in 2014, which she spent for vacations and other personal expenses.
The charge of student loan fraud provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $20,000. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Brian Hickey, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Inspector General, Region I and II, made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Landry of Ortiz’s Major Crimes Unit.