The former director of financial help at Reynolds Group School was indicted by a federal grand jury Tuesday on rates of orchestrating a plan spanning 8 yrs that defrauded Virginia and the U.S. Department of Schooling of $379,608 in federal and point out pupil financial loan resources.
Keisha Lashawn Pope, 47, is accused of using her access to Reynolds’ economical aid programs to increase the fiscal help eligibility for various co-conspirators — her son, her previous fiancé, her goddaughter and a cousin — who were being not qualified for help at the college, authorities said.
The 10-count indictment alleges that Pope had kickback agreements in position with the co-conspirators to acquire around half of the illegally attained money as payment, which she used for private fees that included car repairs, retail shopping and expenditures for her insignificant-aged daughter.
She stands billed with a single rely of conspiracy to dedicate wire fraud, 4 counts of wire fraud and 1 depend of aggravated detect theft.
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Pope quickly resigned from her placement at Reynolds on Oct. 5, 2017, roughly two days following she was confronted by a supervisor about the alleged scholar support fraud involving her goddaughter.
Eight months later, on June 18, 2018, she was employed by Virginia Union University as the school’s director of undergraduate and graduate school economical help services and scholarship applications. VUU spokesperson Pamela Cox claimed in an email Wednesday that Pope is no for a longer time employed by the university, but did not say when Pope left. “We do not comment on staff issues,” she explained.
With Pope’s manipulation of the Reynolds technique, the 4 co-conspirators collectively been given $246,450 in federal economical aid funds and $133,158 in point out monetary aid from about 2011 through 2018, “to unlawfully enrich on their own.”
Pope hid the failures of get-togethers to earn satisfactory academic performance to receive money help, or their absence of eligibility to carry on to receiving aid, together with paying out the illicitly acquired resources for non-educational purposes, according to the indictment.
For case in point, Pope procured fiscal assist for her son figuring out he was not attending Reynolds in the 2011-17 time body, authorities alleged in the indictment. In a further instance, Pope received fiscal aid for her ex-fiancé from about 2010 by way of 2015 though he was incarcerated in the Sussex County Jail and not attending the college, the indictment alleges.
Pope is accused of falsifying supporting documentation for the monetary help that she procured for the co-conspirators. In a single circumstance, Pope solid health-related documents from Virginia Commonwealth College Health and fitness Techniques, together with financial support files, that indicated her goddaughter had failed to meet up with academic eligibility thanks to a breast cancer analysis, figuring out that was untrue. She also falsely said to her supervisor that she was not connected to her goddaughter, in accordance to the indictment.
“Pope’s lies had been developed to conceal Pope’s improper use of college student assist money,” the indictment says.
Federal fiscal aid programs submitted by Pope and the co-conspirators resulted in Reynolds issuing refund disbursements, consisting of federal and Virginia fiscal aid, to Pope’s son, goddaughter, cousin and previous fiancé, authorities stated in the indictment.
Pope would then get a part of the proceeds from the parties in a assortment of methods. She directed her cousin and former fiancé to cash their disbursement checks and remit a portion to her she directed her goddaughter to initiate PayPal payments to Pope and a disbursement prepaid card issued to her son was utilized to shell out Pope’s private costs right, according to the indictment.
The indictment even more alleges that all-around September by means of Oct 2017, Reynolds officers confronted Pope about her marriage with the academically ineligible learners obtaining large quantities of money aid.
“In people conversations, Pope is alleged to have claimed not to know these students, when this sort of pupils were being, in simple fact, Pope’s son, goddaughter and cousin,” authorities stated in a statement. “Pope allegedly claimed that all these types of learners experienced supporting justification for acquiring continued economic support, but when pressed for the documentation, Pope resigned.”
Pope was employed by Reynolds in 2006. The leadership of J. Sargent’s economic support place of work — as properly as university leaders accountable for its oversight for the duration of the time of the theft — are no for a longer time used, reported Joe Schilling, the college’s director of communications.
“New management of the money support place of work has been in location given that March of 2018 and has labored diligently to guarantee the integrity of all elements of our economical assist operations,” Schilling reported in an e mail. “Reynolds is in whole compliance with the U.S. Section of Schooling to participate in the administration of federal monetary help.
“Reynolds Local community College has entirely cooperated with suitable law enforcement corporations as element of the investigation referenced by the U.S. Attorney’s Workplace,” he included.