Former University Financial Advisor Faces Federal Wire Fraud Charges | USAO-MD
green belt, Maryland – A criminal complaint has been filed against Randolph Stanley, 42, of Clinton, Md., On the federal charge of conspiring to commit electronic fraud, as part of a scheme to fraudulently obtain aid to students.
The criminal complaint was announced by the Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland, Jonathan F. Lenzner; Special Agent in Charge Terry Harris of the US Department of Education, Office of the Inspector General (OIG) Eastern Regional Office and Special Agent in Charge Christopher Dillard of the Defense Criminal Investigation Service – Field Office of the central Atlantic.
According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, representatives of an online state university (University 1) headquartered in Adelphi, Maryland, met with officials from the OIG Department of Education to discuss an alleged system of student loan fraud. University 1’s initial investigation indicated that Stanley carried out a scheme to illegally obtain state and federal student aid using around 60 students enrolled at University 1.
Stanley has been employed by the Defense Contract Audit Agency since October 2008. Previously, Stanley was employed as a financial advisor at University 1 from 2005 to 2007, which included determining student eligibility for federal, state and institutional based on federal regulations. Stanley also reported to (DCAA) that he was director of student finance at a for-profit university (University 2) from June to October 2008, where he claimed to have “advised prospective and continuing students as well as faculty and staff on all aspects of the financial aid application process.
Students seeking federal student aid to cover student expenses such as tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, must complete a Free Federal Student Aid Application. (FAFSA). After the FAFSA’s submission, the Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid (FSA) office performs an automated review of the information submitted to calculate the expected family contribution to the cost of a student’s attendance at a school. higher education establishment. Once the aid is granted, university schools collect and disburse federal student aid funds. The institution applies the aid to tuition and fees and any surplus is distributed directly to the student. This is commonly referred to as student loan repayment.
The affidavit alleges that between 2005 and 2021, Stanley fraudulently obtained federal student aid on behalf of participating students, who enrolled in at least eight universities. The students participating in the Stanley Ring were said to have received Federal Student Aid, but were not legitimate students because they had no intention of graduating. Under the program, participating students would either have authorized the use of their Personally Identifiable Information (PII) on student loan financial forms or their PII would have been used without their knowledge, making them victims of theft. identity.
The affidavit alleges that participating students, including Stanley, received tuition fees, which went directly to schools. Between 2005 and 2021, at least 65 participating students, including Stanley, reportedly received at least $ 6.7 million in federal student aid, with at least $ 6.2 million paid to participating students. Stanley, as the leader of the program, is said to have pocketed some or all of the student reimbursements, occasionally sharing the reimbursement money with other student participants.
According to the criminal complaint, Stanley allegedly paid part of the student loan repayments to “participating writers” based in Africa who he asked to complete classes for participating students. The role of the participating writer was allegedly to complete the courses of the participating students and to preserve the appearance of sufficient academic performance, in order to maintain the student’s eligibility for financial aid. As detailed in the affidavit, the participating writers directly submitted the homework using the usernames and passwords of the participating students while falsely claiming to be the participating student and / or provided the homework to Stanley or the participating student for submission.
To avoid detection, with the help of a participating writer (Co-Conspirator 1), Stanley allegedly attempted to hide the IP addresses of participating writers to prevent the university from identifying instances of shared IP addresses. The participating writers also allegedly manipulated popular plagiarism databases to filter work for potential plagiarism.
As part of the fraud scheme, Stanley maintained four separate bank accounts to conduct financial transactions related to the scheme. Some participating students have reportedly ordered universities to deposit student loan repayments directly into Stanley’s personal bank accounts. University 1 records show that from 2015 to 2018, University 1 deposited over $ 530,000 in student loan repayments for participating students other than Stanley, into four of Stanley’s bank accounts. Stanley reportedly used part of the funds to pay the participating writers and students.
Stanley’s scheme reportedly extended to submitting false documents on behalf of participating students to meet college admission requirements. For example, the affidavit alleges that Stanley and a second co-conspirator (Co-conspirator 2) caused foreign nationals to create fraudulent diplomas, transcripts and other documents to qualify participating students in the ‘admission.
If convicted, Stanley faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for wire fraud. The actual sentences for federal crimes are generally less than the maximum sentences. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account US sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.
A criminal complaint is not a guilty verdict. An individual charged with a criminal complaint is presumed innocent unless and until his guilt has been proven in subsequent criminal proceedings.
Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner commended the Department of Education’s OIG and the Defense Criminal Investigation Service for their work in the investigation. Mr. Lenzner thanked Assistant US Prosecutors Erin B. Pulice and Special Assistant US Prosecutors Jessica Harvey and Craig Fansler, who are pursuing the federal case.
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