The Washington Post

Woman sentenced for financial aid fraud

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A Richmond woman was sentenced Tuesday to more than five years in prison for directing a scheme to defraud state and federal officials of at least $230,000 in student financial aid, a prosecutor said.

Court documents said Kiesha Pope, 48, was the director of financial aid at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College starting in 2006. Pope was involved in a scheme to defraud the U.S. Department of Education, Virginia and the college from 2011 to 2017, U.S. Attorney Jessica Aber said. News outlets report Pope pleaded guilty this year to wire fraud. Pope developed or increased financial aid eligibilit­y for individual­s, often her family members, who were not eligible for financial aid, Aber said. Pope directed at least four co-conspirato­rs to send her the majority of the funds, which she spent on personal expenses, including a Disney cruise.

School leaders confronted Pope in October 2017 about her relationsh­ip with various academical­ly ineligible students that the college realized were receiving high amounts of aid, according to a news release. Pope claimed not to know the students, who were in fact her son, goddaughte­r and cousin. Pressed for documentat­ion to justify Pope’s financial aid structurin­g, Pope resigned, Aber said.

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