THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE
EASTERN DISTRICT of CALIFORNIA
United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner
Eastern District of California
Guilty Plea in Financial Fraud Scheme Involving Community Colleges
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 22, 2013
FRESNO, Calif. — Shauna Marie Fabrega, 32, of Palmdale, pleaded guilty today to seven counts of mail fraud in a federal student aid fraud scheme, U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
This case is a product of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorney Grant B. Rabenn is prosecuting the case.
According to the indictment, from June 2010 to January 2012, Fabrega recruited individuals to act as straw students and to apply for Federal Student Aid (FSA) funds with her assistance at Bakersfield College, Cerro Cosso Community College, and Santa Barbara Community College. The applicants were not students and did not intend to attend classes. Fabrega also applied for FSA funds in her own name and enrolled herself in courses at the three schools. She was not eligible to enroll in such courses because she was not a high school graduate. In addition, Fabrega obtained identification information from individuals without their knowledge and used that information to apply for FSA funds. As a result, the Department of Education lost more than $70,000.
Fabrega is scheduled to be sentenced on December 9, 2013, by United States District Judge Anthony W. Ishii. The maximum sentence for mail fraud is 20 years in prison. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory sentencing factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.