Prison sentence in financial aid fraud scheme
RICHMOND, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A woman from Richmond is heading to prison for defrauding student financial aid funds.
According to a release, 48-year-old Kiesha Pope was sentenced to more than five years in prison for orchestrating a six-year scheme to defraud the U.S. Department of Education and Virginia of at least $230,000 in student financial aid.
Court documents show she was the Director of Financial Aid at J. Sergeant Reynolds Community College in the Richmond area.
Between 2011 and 2017, Pope was involved in a scheme that aimed to take money, using her access to manufacture or boost financial aid eligibility for people.
These people were often her family members, who were not eligible for aid.
The release says Pope then directed at least four of these people to send her most of the money, which she then spent on personal expenses, such as a vacation on Disney Cruise Line, shopping and retail purchases for her daughter.
She also overrode the community college’s financial aid system to get financial aid for her son between 2011 and 2017 while knowing that he was not attending the community college.
In another instance, Pope was accused of getting financial aid for an ex-fiancé while that person was in jail.
The release says that when she was confronted by the school’s leadership in September 2017, Pope lied and denied that she had a relationship with her co-conspirators.
In order to hide this lie, Pope reportedly falsified supporting justification to substantiate the high aid amounts she had gotten for her co-conspirators.
In one instance, she forged medical documents to show that her goddaughter was failing to meet academic eligibility due to being diagnosed with breast cancer. However, her goddaughter was not diagnosed with that disease.
Reynolds leaders again confronted Pope in October 2017 and she again lied, saying she did not know the students despite the fact they were actually her son, goddaughter and cousin.
When pressed for documentation supporting and justifying her financial aid structuring, Pope suddenly resigned from the college.
This sentence was handed down on Tuesday.