ROANOKE, Va. – A Danville, Va. woman who used other people’s personally identifiable information to submit and receive fraudulent student loans pleaded guilty this week in federal court.
Karren Warren, 43, waived her right to be charged and today pleaded guilty to one count of student loan fraud and one count of unlawful transfer or possession of identification affecting the interstate commerce.
According to court documents, between 2013 and 2018, Warren devised a scheme to defraud the United States Department of Education (USDOE), the American Public University System (APUS), and Capella University by preparing and submitting fake FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) forms.
Warren admitted to recruiting others to provide her with their personal identifying information, which she then used to prepare and submit fraudulent registration applications to USDOE, APUS and Capella.
Once financial aid was secured, Warren enrolled the people, whose names had been submitted using the fake FAFSAs, into online educational institutions. Most of the people registered in this way did not participate or withdrew from the courses. Warren then converted the federal financial aid funds for his personal use, thereby failing to use the funds solely for education-related expenses, as required by the USDOE.
In total, Warren caused a loss of at least $264,000 to APUS, Capella and the USDOE.
Warren faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering US sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.
U.S. Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh of the Western District of Virginia made the announcement.
The United States Department of Education and the United States Postal Inspection Service investigated the matter.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Charlene R. Day is prosecuting the case.