Former University Financial Advisor Facing Federal Fees For Wire Fraud | USAO-MD

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Green belt, Maryland – A criminal complaint has been filed against Randolph Stanley, 42, of Clinton, Maryland, for conspiracy to commit bank transfer fraud in connection with a fraudulent student grant scheme.

The criminal complaint was made public by acting Maryland District Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner; Special Agent Terry Harris of the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Inspector General (OIG) Eastern Regional Office, and Special Agent Christopher Dillard of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service – Mid-Atlantic Field Office.

According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, officials from an online state university (University 1) based in Adelphi, Maryland, met with agents from the OIG Department of Education to discuss an alleged student loan fraud program. The first University 1 investigation found Stanley allegedly spearheaded a scheme to illegally obtain state and federal tuition grants, with about 60 students enrolled at University 1.

Stanley joined the Defense Contract Audit Agency in October 2008. Prior to that, Stanley served as a financial advisor at University 1 from 2005 to 2007, including determining eligibility of students for federal, state and institutional funds based on federal regulations. Stanley also reported (DCAA) that he was Director of Student Finances at a for-profit university (University 2) from June to October 2008, where he claimed to have “advised prospective and postgraduate students, faculty and staff on all aspects”. the procedure for applying for aid ”.

Students wishing to apply for a state grant to cover their tuition expenses, such as tuition fees and fees, room and board, and books and materials, must complete a free state grant application (FAFSA). After the FAFSA has been submitted, the Educational Science Office of the Federal Student Aid (FSA) carries out an automated check of the information transmitted in order to calculate the expected family contribution to the costs of the university visit. After the grant has been granted, the university schools draw on federal funds for student grants and pay them out. The college applies the grant to tuition and fees and any excess is paid directly to the students. This is commonly referred to as a student loan refund.

The affidavit alleges that Stanley fraudulently received federal grants between 2005 and 2021 on behalf of study participants who enrolled in at least eight universities. Students attending Stanley Ring allegedly received government student aid but were not legitimate students as they had no intentions of graduation. Under the program, student participants allegedly either allowed their personal information (PII) to be used on student loan funding forms or their personal information was used without their knowledge, thereby falling victim to identity theft.

The affidavit alleges that the students, including Stanley, received tuition fees that went directly to schools. Between 2005 and 2021, at least 65 student attendees – including Stanley – reportedly received at least $ 6.7 million in government grants, with at least $ 6.2 million paid out to student attendees. Stanley, as the ringleader of the program, would allegedly pocket all or some of the student refunds and occasionally share refund funds with other student attendees.

According to the criminal complaint, Stanley allegedly paid a portion of the student loan refunds to Africa-based writer participants whom he directed to complete the course work for the student participants. The role of the author-participant allegedly was to complete the student participants’ coursework and appear to have had sufficient academic performance to maintain the student’s eligibility for financial assistance. As described in the affidavit, Writer attendees submitted assignments directly using the student participants’ usernames and passwords while falsely claiming to be the student participant and / or provided the assignments to Stanley or the student participant for submission to have.

To avoid detection, Stanley allegedly tried, with the help of a Writer participant (Co-Conspirator 1), to hide the IP addresses of the Writer participants in order to hinder the university’s ability to identify instances of shared IP addresses. Author-participants also allegedly manipulated popular plagiarism databases in order to check works for potential plagiarism detection.

As part of the fraud scheme, Stanley maintained four separate bank accounts to conduct financial transactions related to the system. Some student attendees have reportedly instructed universities to deposit student loan refunds directly into Stanley’s personal bank accounts. University 1 records show that University 1 deposited more than $ 530,000 in student loan refunds for students other than Stanley into four of Stanley’s bank accounts from 2015 to 2018. Stanley reportedly used some of the money to pay writers and students.

Stanley’s scheme allegedly extended to filing forged documents on behalf of students in order to meet university 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 students for admission.

If convicted, Stanley faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for wire fraud. Actual penalties for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine each sentence based on U.S. sentencing guidelines and other legal factors.

A criminal complaint is not an admission of guilt. A person charged by a criminal complaint is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in subsequent criminal proceedings.

Acting US Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner praised the Department of Education OIG and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service for their work in the investigation. Mr. Lenzner thanked U.S. Assistant Attorneys Erin B. Pulice and U.S. Special Assistant Attorneys Jessica Harvey and Craig Fansler who are pursuing the federal case.

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