Accused of Facilitating Fraud with Financial Aid? Learn the Law
Legal Definition of Financial Aid Fraud
It is illegal under both state and federal law to make false claims, false promises, or material misrepresentations in order to enrich yourself. Financial aid fraud is one type of fraud that can result in criminal prosecution by a U.S. attorney at the federal level, as well as prosecution within New York State. Financial aid fraud can take many forms, including making false claims to obtain funds under the Title IV Federal Student Assistance Program, or making false claims to obtain funds from agencies like the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
If you are charged with a financial aid scam, you need to get legal help. An experienced attorney can help you to determine how best to respond to police questioning or to deal with an indictment or arrest. Call today to learn more.
Types of Financial Aid Frauds
There are myriad different types of financial aid frauds including:
- Intentionally misrepresenting income on Free Applications for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
- Straw student scams, in which individuals apply to educational institutions as new students with phony high school diplomas or fake GED certificates. Money is sent to the school the student is enrolled in, and when the balance exceeds the cost of tuition, the remaining funds are paid out to the fake students.
- Manipulating test scores on assessment exams to qualify for federal student aid grants.
- Applying for federal student aid using someone else’s identity.
- Applying for disaster benefits from FEMA using someone else’s identity or inaccurate information about disaster losses.
These and other types of scams involving federal aid funds can lead to criminal charges for:
- Making false, fraudulent, or fictitious claims to any agency of the U.S. government. (18 U.S. Code Section 287).
- Conspiracy to defraud the United States. (18 U.S. Code Section 371). You face five years imprisonment for planning to commit fraud against the government, even if you do not succeed.
- Making false, fraudulent, or misleading statements (18 U.S. Code Section 1001). You face five years imprisonment for false or fraudulent statements within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the United States.
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Arkady Bukh has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in NYC
TOP RATED ON: SUPER LAWYERS, AVVO, NATIONAL TRIAL LAWYERS
- Mail fraud (18 Code Section 1341). You could be imprisoned for 20 years for using the postal service as part of a fraud scheme.
- Wire fraud (18 U.S. Code Section 1343), which also has a potential 20-year prison sentence for committing fraud using wire communications.
- False identification/ identity theft offenses (18 U.S. Code Section 1028). You could face 15 years imprisonment for obtaining financial aid benefits through identity theft or misrepresentation of your identity.
Even submitting a FAFSA form with intentionally inaccurate information could be sufficient to be charged with an attempt to defraud, making false statements, and either mail or wire fraud depending upon whether the FAFSA was submitted electronically or by mail.
New York Financial Aid Fraud Penalties
New York laws also apply to financial aid fraud including:
- Criminal impersonation Code Section 190.25 and 26).
- Schemes to defraud (Code Sections 190.60 and 65).
- Identity theft (Code sections 190.77 through 83).
You can be charged with these offenses for filing a false FEMA claim after a disaster, or for applying for any other type of aid using false information or a false identity.
How a Financial Aid Fraud Lawyer Can Help
Financial aid fraud has serious consequences. You need to understand how best to defend yourself against accusations of fraud. An attorney can provide you with advice on available defenses or can help you to negotiate a plea agreement with prosecutors in order to reduce the severity of your charges.
To learn more, contact a lawyer from Bukh Law Firm with experience on college financial aid fraud.