February 2, 2023

Tricia Oak

Business & Finance Excellency

Former monetary help director for Reynolds Group College billed with thieving virtually $400K in scholar personal loan money | Crime Information

The previous director of economical assist at Reynolds Group School was indicted by a federal grand jury Tuesday on expenses of orchestrating a scheme spanning eight a long time that defrauded Virginia and the U.S. Division of Education and learning of $379,608 in federal and point out college student financial loan money.

Keisha Lashawn Pope, 47, is accused of using her access to Reynolds’ financial assist programs to raise the financial assist eligibility for various co-conspirators — her son, her previous fiancé, her goddaughter and a cousin — who have been not suitable for aid at the college or university, authorities mentioned.

The 10-rely indictment alleges that Pope experienced kickback agreements in spot with the co-conspirators to get about 50 percent of the illegally attained resources as compensation, which she used for private fees that involved motor vehicle repairs, retail procuring and charges for her minimal-aged daughter.

She stands billed with a person count of conspiracy to dedicate wire fraud, 4 counts of wire fraud and 1 count of aggravated identify theft.

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Pope suddenly resigned from her position at Reynolds on Oct. 5, 2017, approximately two days soon after she was confronted by a supervisor about the alleged pupil assist fraud involving her goddaughter.

8 months later on, on June 18, 2018, she was employed by Virginia Union College as the school’s director of undergraduate and graduate faculty monetary support products and services and scholarship packages. VUU spokesperson Pamela Cox claimed in an email Wednesday that Pope is no for a longer period utilized by the university, but did not say when Pope remaining. “We do not comment on personnel matters,” she stated.

With Pope’s manipulation of the Reynolds system, the four co-conspirators collectively gained $246,450 in federal financial assist cash and $133,158 in state monetary help from about 2011 as a result of 2018, “to unlawfully enrich by themselves.”

Pope concealed the failures of parties to generate satisfactory tutorial performance to get economical aid, or their absence of eligibility to continue to obtaining help, along with spending the illicitly acquired funds for non-educational applications, according to the indictment.

For case in point, Pope procured economic help for her son recognizing he was not attending Reynolds in the 2011-17 time body, authorities alleged in the indictment. In yet another occasion, Pope attained fiscal assist for her ex-fiancé from about 2010 via 2015 although he was incarcerated in the Sussex County Jail and not attending the faculty, the indictment alleges.

Pope is accused of falsifying supporting documentation for the financial assist that she procured for the co-conspirators. In a single case, Pope solid medical paperwork from Virginia Commonwealth University Health and fitness Methods, along with monetary support paperwork, that indicated her goddaughter had unsuccessful to meet up with educational eligibility thanks to a breast most cancers analysis, recognizing that was false. She also falsely said to her supervisor that she was not related to her goddaughter, according to the indictment.

“Pope’s lies had been built to conceal Pope’s improper use of university student assist cash,” the indictment states.

Federal financial assist purposes submitted by Pope and the co-conspirators resulted in Reynolds issuing refund disbursements, consisting of federal and Virginia economical assist, to Pope’s son, goddaughter, cousin and previous fiancé, authorities stated in the indictment.

Pope would then obtain a portion of the proceeds from the events in a wide variety of techniques. She directed her cousin and previous fiancé to income their disbursement checks and remit a part to her she directed her goddaughter to initiate PayPal payments to Pope and a disbursement prepaid card issued to her son was utilized to pay back Pope’s individual expenses immediately, according to the indictment.

The indictment even more alleges that about September by way of October 2017, Reynolds officers confronted Pope about her romantic relationship with the academically ineligible college students acquiring higher amounts of financial help.

“In individuals discussions, Pope is alleged to have claimed not to know these learners, when such learners have been, in reality, Pope’s son, goddaughter and cousin,” authorities claimed in a statement. “Pope allegedly claimed that all these students had supporting justification for acquiring ongoing financial support, but when pressed for the documentation, Pope resigned.”

Pope was hired by Reynolds in 2006. The management of J. Sargent’s money help business — as effectively as university leaders responsible for its oversight through the time of the theft — are no longer utilized, reported Joe Schilling, the college’s director of communications.

“New leadership of the financial assist place of work has been in place since March of 2018 and has worked diligently to make certain the integrity of all areas of our monetary aid operations,” Schilling explained in an e mail. “Reynolds is in complete compliance with the U.S. Section of Education and learning to take part in the administration of federal money support.

“Reynolds Community Faculty has fully cooperated with applicable legislation enforcement companies as portion of the investigation referenced by the U.S. Attorney’s Workplace,” he extra.

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