Around a decade ago, an Ohio couple opened Carnegie Career College that purported to be a private school offering certain associates degrees and certificates. Financial aid was also available in the form of student loans. The alleged theft of over $2 million in student aid led to mail and wire fraud charges against the college’s co-founders and one other person.

Authorities in Ohio claim the fraud began in 2007 and ran through 2012. Supposedly, the couple and a third person obtained fake high school diplomas for students that dropped out of high school. The used the fake diplomas to obtain student loans, which they then converted for personal use.

Investigators claim to have proof that the money was spent on anything from a vacation to the repayment of a personal line of credit and many things in between. Additional charges related to these alleged fraudulent activities were filed as well. Some of the students at the school were supposed to be obtaining their high school diplomas while completing one of the school’s degree or certificate programs. These students were supposedly told they received a scholarship. Authorities believe the couple was padding the enrollment numbers to have access to more funds.

If convicted of all charges against them, including wire fraud, these three people could face years of prison time. People accused of crimes are given the benefit of a presumption of innocence. Therefore, prosecutors bear the burden of proving the elements of the crime and that the persons charged actually committed it. A thorough review of the evidence obtained by authorities may help in preparing a defense against the charges.

Source: wkyc.com, Canton couple indicted for $2.3M fraud, No author, Dec. 13, 2013