San Leandro resident Myron Jacobs, 40, and Elk Grove resident Stacey Jacobs, 29, are among the 21 people who have been indicted recently on charges of federal student aid fraud, federal authorities say.
According to a press release from Benjamin Wagner, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California, the pair allegedly recruited people "to act as straw students at various community colleges and [applied] for financial aid assistance in their names."
The fake applicants weren't students at the schools and weren't planning on attending them, the press release states. Stacey Jacobs allegedly had the financial aid checks sent to "addresses associated with her or to others with whom she was associated."
The scheme cost the U.S. Department of Education at least $66,000, authorities said. Stacey and Myron Jacobs are due in federal court on Oct. 12.
Their case isn't unique; five other cases have come forward in the past 35 days, and one more was charged earlier this year. The investigations were a collaboration between Wagner and U.S. Department of Education Inspector General Kathleen Tighe.
“Federal student aid exists so that individuals can make their dream of a higher education a reality, not for criminals to use as a personal slush fund,” the press release quoted Tighe as saying.
The cases are said to be loosly affiliated "fraud rings," which take advantage of distance education programs and financial aid.
In another case, authorities say Antelope residents Brent W. Wilder and Michael J. Huddleston, both 43, used the identities of state prisoners and other straw students to apply for federal student aid at American River College, Sacramento City College and Cosumnes River College over a period of three years.
Wilder and Huddleston kept half of the financial aid money and gave the rest to the straw students, the press release states. They are next due in court on Friday.