WASHINGTON, DC (CW69 News at 10) – A federal grand jury charged six former administrators from the Columbus, Georgia, campus of the Apex School of Theology in an indictment unsealed Monday for their alleged participation in a scheme to defraud student loan programs of more than $12,000,000.
The indictment Names:
- Erica Montgomery, 47, of Ft. Mitchell, Alabama
- Sandra Anderson, 61, of Columbus, Georgia
- Leo Frank Thomas, 54, of Columbus, Georgia
- Yolanda Thomas, 50, of Columbus, Georgia
- Dorothy Webb, 68, of Las Vegas, Nevada
- Kristina Parker, 33, of Stone Mountain, Georgia,
A federal grand jury them with one count of conspiracy, five counts of mail fraud, and five counts of financial aid fraud. The grand jury also charged Anderson and Montgomery with money laundering.
The indictment alleges that the defendants engaged in a scheme to operate an off-site learning center in Columbus, Georgia, on behalf of Apex, a now-defunct school offering programs in theology and other subjects. As part of the scheme, the defendants allegedly recruited individuals with offers of “free money” to function as fake “students” and fraudulently apply for federal financial aid. The indictment alleges that these “students” were told that they did not have to do any work or attend classes, but they would have to split their financial aid with the defendants, who used federal financial aid funds to personally enrich themselves.
The indictment further alleges that the defendants submitted plagiarized work for the “students,” took their tests, and logged on to the school’s web site as if they were the “students” to deceive the DOE into believing they were real students making adequate academic progress. The defendants allegedly falsified admission packets and applied for federal financial aid in the names of the students, falsely certifying that they were the student and that the financial aid would be used for educational purposes. Instead, they allegedly used the financial aid to enrich the recruited “students” and the defendants. The indictment alleges that the defendants defrauded the DOE of at least $12 million in taxpayer funds.
An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
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