More than 20 people in California have been charged with receiving federal student financial aid even though they weren’t attending school.
U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner says some of the defendants used stolen identities to obtain aid through online or community colleges.
“People can make use of stolen identities," says Wagner. "People can falsify information and provide it through the Internet and there’s relatively little checking of that information."
Fifteen schools from Sacramento to San Diego were targeted.
The Inspector General’s office at the U.S. Department of Education says it has been urging schools to do a better job screening its students. Though several schools failed in that regard, investigators are crediting them for discovering the fraud after the fact.