Illinois: 6 Former Employees at Job Training Center Charged with Financial Aid Fraud

"Six former employees of a Chicago postsecondary school have been charged with defrauding the federal government out of millions of dollars in student financial aid funds," according to the Chicago Sun Times.  

"All six of them worked at the now-closed Chicago campus of the Center for Employment Training, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. From 2005 to 2013, they allegedly applied for federal grants and loans for students who were not eligible to receive the funds.

Marie Pickett, 59, of Chicago; Janie Blakeney, 63, of Chicago; Deborah Williams, 58, of Chicago; Jenny Morales, 36, of Cicero; Heather Smith, 43, of Cicero; and Tamaura Balark, 45, of Chicago, have each been charged with conspiracy to fraudulently obtain federal financial assistance, one count of fraudulently obtaining federal financial assistance and three counts of wire fraud, prosecutors said.

Pickett worked as the director of CET’s Chicago campus, while Blakeney was the admissions advisor, prosecutors said. Williams and Morales were financial aid officers while Smith and Balark taught in the medical assistance program.

They are accused of filling out financial aid applications for students who had not graduated high school or received an equivalency certificate, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. They created a fake diploma for one student to claim that the student had graduated from a Chicago public high school."

NASFAA's "Headlines" section highlights media coverage of financial aid to help members stay up to date with the latest news. Inclusion in Today's News does not imply endorsement of the material or guarantee the accuracy of information presented.


Publication Date: 3/6/2018

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