September 26, 2023


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Previous money aid director for Reynolds Neighborhood University charged with thieving almost $400K in college student loan cash | Criminal offense News

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The previous director of economic help at Reynolds Community Faculty was indicted by a federal grand jury Tuesday on prices of orchestrating a scheme spanning eight several years that defrauded Virginia and the U.S. Office of Training of $379,608 in federal and point out scholar personal loan funds.

Keisha Lashawn Pope, 47, is accused of applying her entry to Reynolds’ economical aid devices to increase the economic assist eligibility for many co-conspirators — her son, her previous fiancé, her goddaughter and a cousin — who were not suitable for assist at the faculty, authorities explained.

The 10-rely indictment alleges that Pope experienced kickback agreements in area with the co-conspirators to receive roughly 50 % of the illegally received funds as payment, which she employed for individual expenses that incorporated vehicle repairs, retail shopping and charges for her insignificant-aged daughter.

She stands charged with just one depend of conspiracy to dedicate wire fraud, 4 counts of wire fraud and one depend of aggravated detect theft.

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Pope abruptly resigned from her placement at Reynolds on Oct. 5, 2017, close to two times immediately after she was confronted by a supervisor about the alleged pupil aid fraud involving her goddaughter.

Eight months later, on June 18, 2018, she was hired by Virginia Union University as the school’s director of undergraduate and graduate faculty financial aid products and services and scholarship packages. VUU spokesperson Pamela Cox claimed in an e-mail Wednesday that Pope is no extended employed by the college, but did not say when Pope remaining. “We do not comment on personnel issues,” she explained.

With Pope’s manipulation of the Reynolds process, the four co-conspirators collectively received $246,450 in federal fiscal assist resources and $133,158 in point out economical assist from about 2011 by 2018, “to unlawfully enrich on their own.”

Pope concealed the failures of get-togethers to earn satisfactory educational performance to acquire monetary aid, or their absence of eligibility to proceed to receiving aid, alongside with paying out the illicitly acquired money for non-educational purposes, in accordance to the indictment.

For instance, Pope procured monetary help for her son recognizing he was not attending Reynolds in the 2011-17 time body, authorities alleged in the indictment. In a different occasion, Pope received monetary support for her ex-fiancé from about 2010 as a result of 2015 whilst he was incarcerated in the Sussex County Jail and not attending the school, the indictment alleges.

Pope is accused of falsifying supporting documentation for the fiscal support that she procured for the co-conspirators. In 1 situation, Pope cast health-related files from Virginia Commonwealth University Well being Programs, along with financial help paperwork, that indicated her goddaughter experienced unsuccessful to satisfy educational eligibility thanks to a breast most cancers prognosis, realizing that was fake. She also falsely mentioned to her supervisor that she was not connected to her goddaughter, according to the indictment.

“Pope’s lies ended up intended to conceal Pope’s inappropriate use of pupil assist funds,” the indictment suggests.

Federal money support programs submitted by Pope and the co-conspirators resulted in Reynolds issuing refund disbursements, consisting of federal and Virginia monetary assist, to Pope’s son, goddaughter, cousin and former fiancé, authorities stated in the indictment.

Pope would then acquire a part of the proceeds from the events in a wide variety of strategies. She directed her cousin and previous fiancé to hard cash their disbursement checks and remit a part to her she directed her goddaughter to initiate PayPal payments to Pope and a disbursement pay as you go card issued to her son was made use of to pay Pope’s individual expenses instantly, in accordance to the indictment.

The indictment further more alleges that around September by means of Oct 2017, Reynolds officers confronted Pope about her romance with the academically ineligible learners receiving superior amounts of economical support.

“In these discussions, Pope is alleged to have claimed not to know these students, when these types of students had been, in point, Pope’s son, goddaughter and cousin,” authorities mentioned in a statement. “Pope allegedly claimed that all these kinds of learners experienced supporting justification for receiving continued economic support, but when pressed for the documentation, Pope resigned.”

Pope was hired by Reynolds in 2006. The management of J. Sargent’s economical help office — as nicely as faculty leaders liable for its oversight for the duration of the time of the theft — are no for a longer time employed, reported Joe Schilling, the college’s director of communications.

“New leadership of the financial help business office has been in area due to the fact March of 2018 and has worked diligently to be certain the integrity of all features of our fiscal help operations,” Schilling reported in an electronic mail. “Reynolds is in comprehensive compliance with the U.S. Department of Education to take part in the administration of federal financial support.

“Reynolds Group School has thoroughly cooperated with appropriate legislation enforcement businesses as portion of the investigation referenced by the U.S. Attorney’s Office environment,” he additional.

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