Columbus, GA

All Conspirators In $12 Mill. Dept. of Ed. Scam Are Going to Prison


Prison sentences have been handed down for all of the conspirators in a $12 million scam involving federal student aid and the Department of Education.
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In September, the four individuals pled guilty to the charges against them.

At that time, the IRS Criminal Investigation division shared an official release with details of the case against Sandra Anderson, of Palmetto, Georgia, Yolanda Thomas, of Columbus, Georgia, Leo Thomas, of Phenix City, Alabama, and Kristina Parker, of Stone Mountain, Georgia.

Anderson, Yolanda Thomas, and Parker each pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, five counts of wire fraud, and four counts of financial aid fraud. Each conspiracy and wire fraud charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison, which each financial aid fraud charge has a maximum sentence of five years behind bars.

Leo Thomas pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and faced a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment.

The foursome and additional co-conspirators fraudulently obtained millions of dollars in federal student loans that they misused for personal gain. To accomplish this, they created a sham high education institution -- the non-existent Columbus, Georgia, satellite campus of the Apex School of Theology.

The four operators of the scheme fraudulently "enrolled" students who did not qualify for undergraduate or graduate programs.
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In a press release regarding the sentencing, which took place on December 15, the IRS shared each party's sentence:

  • Sandra Anderson - 108 months in prison, three years probation
  • Yolanda Brown Thomas - 63 months in prison, three years probation
  • Kristina Parker - Four years in prison, three years probation
  • Erica Montgomery - 51 months in prison, three years probation
  • Leo Frank Thomas - Three years in prison, three years probation

All five defendants were also ordered to pay, jointly and individually, $11,821,022 in restitution to the Department of Education.

What do you think about the sentences in this case?

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