Alexandria woman sentenced to 12 months in prison for stealing over $22,000 from college students
ALEXANDRIA – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced that an Alexandria woman was sentenced last week to 12 months and one day in prison for charging fees to college students and pocketing the money.
Makquel D. Gailes, 43, of Alexandria, La., was sentenced Friday by U.S. District Judge Dee D. Drell on one count of mail fraud. She was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $22,707 restitution. According to the August 5, 2016 guilty plea, Gailes worked as a financial aid officer at Unitech Training Academy in Alexandria from January 2009 to December 2011. Gailes conducted a scheme to steal thousands from the students of Unitech. When a student’s federal financial aid exceeded school cost and expenses, Gailes requested refund checks from Unitech for the students. Gailes received the refund checks in the mail, and Gailes notified the students to get their checks. After giving the students their checks, Gailes told the students they owed additional money in fees, which included graduation fees, promissory note fees or out-of-pocket expenses. Gailes told the students to pay these fees in cash to her, which many did. Gailes did not apply the student cash payments to outstanding balances, if they had one, but pocketed and used the money for her own personal expenses leaving the students with more debt and less money.
The U.S. Department of Education-Office of Inspector General conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike O’Mara prosecuted the case.