EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. -- An East St. Louis couple faces up to a year and a half in federal prison now that they’ve admitted scheming to steal nearly $47,000 in student loan money.
Antwayne Crumble and Danyelle McNeil pleaded guilty Monday in East St. Louis. Charges were conspiring to commit student loan fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud. Authorities say the couple used personal information from 28 friends and relatives. They took the information and applied to online undergraduate programs at the University of Phoenix for a year beginning in September 2008.
The pair then enrolled the fake students in classes and applied for student loans. They obtained loans for 16 of the applications.
The Springfield News-Leader says the College of the Ozarks has stopped certifying private student loans. It's barred state and federal loans since the 1990s.
Longtime President Jerry C. Davis says "the driving force behind this is that debt is bad."
Of the school's 1,350 students, 250 to 300 of them currently receive a loan, often from a hometown bank. The college is taking steps to help students adjust. They include expanding summer work opportunities and freezing room-and-board costs.
The college itself is debt free. It makes sure it has cash in hand before doing things like building a residence hall.