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Financial aid fraud targeted JJC and other colleges

Published: Thursday, July 31, 2014 8:46 p.m. CDT

CHICAGO – Four men have been charged with trying to use other people’s identities to register as Joliet Junior College students and receive financial aid loans.

The scheme was unsuccessful at JJC, although authorities say the men were able to get $135,000 at two other community colleges in the Chicago region.

Anthony Trice, 34, Warren K. Taylor, 35, and David N. Edwards, 37, of Chicago, and Jerrod L. Weathersby, 36, of Harvey, were indicted Wednesday on federal fraud charges for trying to fraudulently obtain $240,000 in student aid from JJC, Harper College in Palatine and Elgin Community College.

The student loans were among other bank, mortgage and small business loan schemes that netted more than $2.4 million dollars for six defendants since 2006, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Noreen B. Mian, 34, of Chicago, and Derrek L. Campbell, 34, of Chicago, also were indicted on charges unrelated to the college loan fraud.

From 2010 to March 2012, Trice, Taylor, Edwards and Weathersby submitted more than 40 applications for admission and federal student aid at the schools using identities Trice and Weathersby had obtained while committing credit card fraud, according to the indictment filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher McFadden.

Reimbursement checks were sent out to the “student’s” registered address and cashed. The scheme got about $135,000 in refunds from Elgin and Harper colleges, but was unsuccessful at JJC, according to the indictment.

JJC spokeswoman Kelly Rohder said Thursday the college was unaware of the indictments, but would cooperate with any investigation.

Trice was charged with six counts of mail fraud, five counts of wire fraud, three counts of bank fraud, making false statements on loan applications, student loan fraud and aggravated identity theft. Weathersby was charged with wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Taylor was charged with four counts of mail fraud, aggravated identity theft and student loan fraud. Edwards was charged with mail fraud and student loan fraud.

The suspects face up to 30 years in prison and $1 million fines.

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