| André Birotte Jr
United States Attorney
Central District of California
|For Immediate Distribution
July 07, 2011
|Thom Mrozek, Public Affairs Officer
Los Angeles County Probation Officer Arrested for Wire Fraud for Fraudulently Obtaining Sdudent Aid
RIVERSIDE, California – A Los Angeles County Probation officer was arrested this morning on federal wire fraud charges that allege she bilked the federal financial aid system by using two identities to fraudulently obtain financial assistance.
Angenette Thomas, 43, of Rialto, was arrested at her place of employment in San Dimas by special agents with the U.S. Department of Education - Office of Inspector General.
A criminal complaint filed June 29 in United States District Court alleges that Thomas obtained federal student loans and grants to attend several local colleges, including Platt College; University of La Verne; California State University, Fullerton; California State University, San Bernardino; and National University in La Jolla. After Thomas defaulted on many of these loans, she applied for more financial aid in March 2009 and falsely claimed she was not in default on a federal student loan. According to the complaint, when Thomas was rejected for financial aid after it was discovered she was in default on her student loans, she used a second name and social security number to again apply for federal student aid. In this application, Thomas claimed she had never attended college and earned no income in 2008. Based on these representations, she received more federal student aid.
The complaint alleges that Thomas altogether received more than $135,000 in federal student aid, of which at least $18,000 was by fraud. The complaint also alleges that, when interviewed by federal agents in January 2011, Thomas lied about her employment and education.A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
Thomas is expected to make her initial court appearance this afternoon in federal court in Riverside.
If convicted of wire fraud, Thomas would face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.
The case against Thomas is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education - Office of Inspector General.
CONTACT: Assistant United
States Attorney Jerry C. Yang
Riverside Branch Office