A west suburban couple managed to turn the student loan process into a moneymaker, though they did it by stealing more than $200,000 from the College of DuPage, according to prosecutors.
A DuPage County grand jury Tuesday returned a 20-count indictment against Cedric Ramey and Mary Allen of Roselle, according to the DuPage County state’s attorney’s office.
Among the charges are theft of more than $100,000 from a school or place of worship, a Class X felony; financial institution fraud, forgery, identity theft, conspiracy to commit a financial crime, and theft by deception, according to the DuPage County sheriff’s office.
Prosecutors charge that Ramey, 40; and Allen, 37, stole the money through “an elaborate scheme involving financial aid fraud,” a statement from prosecutors said.
From February 2012 through May 2014, the pair would get friends to provide personal information to apply for admission to the college, which is located in Glen Ellyn; and for student loans and federal grants from the U.S. Department of Education, prosecutors said.
“The recruits would then withdraw from the courses, resulting in refunds of tuition balances returned to them either via check made payable to the recruit or electronic deposit into the recruit’s bank account,” prosecutors said. “The recruits would then split the refund with Ramey and Allen.”
In all the pair stole a total of $205,580, prosecutors allege.
“Not only did the alleged actions of Mr. Ramey and Ms. Allen cost the College of DuPage hundreds of thousands of dollars, their actions may have also hindered other students with a legitimate need in their search of financial aid,” State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said in the statement.
The scheme unraveled in 2013, prosecutors said. “An individual reported that she had received a tuition bill from COD, but she had never attended the college.”
College of DuPage police and the state’s attorney’s Financial Crimes Unit began an investigation which eventually led back to Ramey and Allen, prosecutors said.
“While saddened that anyone would commit fraud against a publicly-funded institution, we are pleased that the state’s attorney’s office has proceeded with indicting these individuals,” COD President Ann Rondeau said in a statement.
The couple is not affiliated with the the college in any manner, she said.
Ramey and Allen, both of the 8oo block of Shawnee Trail in Roselle, appeared in bond court Wednesday, where he was ordered held on a $1 million bond, and she was ordered held on $500,000, prosecutors said. Their next court was scheduled for May 22 before Judge Robert Miller.