Theology student pleads guilty to Student Loan Fraud of $29,500
Washington, D.C - United States Attorney Wilma A. Lewis announced that Pierre L Williams, 52, of Baltimore, Maryland, pled guilty today to defrauding the United States Department of Education by using false social security numbers in order to secure $29,500 in guaranteed student loans. Specifically, Williams pled guilty to one count of Student Assistance Fraud before the Honorable Thomas F. Hogan of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Williams, who is scheduled to be sentenced on February 8, 2000, faces up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and an order of restitution.
According the information provided to the court during today's hearing, Williams was pursuing a master's degree in divinity at the Wesley Theological Seminary at the time of the offense and in the fall of 1995, submitted an application for financial aid using his true social security number. Because he had previously defaulted on his college student loans in the 1980's, his financial aid application was denied. For the following academic year, he submitted a second financial aid application using a false social security number. The Office of Financial Assistance at Wesley Theological Seminary approved this application and processed the loans. In subsequent applications, Williams used two other social security numbers, both false, to secure additional loans. When officials at Wesley learned of the discrepancies and confronted the defendant, he initially denied having committed the fraud, but he eventually admitted his guilt in statements made to federal investigators and administrators at Wesley.
In announcing today's guilty plea, United States Attorney Lewis praised Special Agent Sophia Jones of the Department of Education, who conducted the investigation and thanked officials at Wesley Theological Seminary for their cooperation. Ms. Lewis also praised Assistant United States Attorneys Fred Yette and Amy Jeffress, who prosecuted the case.