Local News

Four charged in student loan scam

Posted September 25, 2008 5:01 p.m. EDT

— A federal grand jury has indicted four people on fraud charges in a college financial aid scheme that bilked a bank out of about $1.2 million.

Melissa Renee Heggie, 29, and Travis S. Hunter, 28, both of Grimesland, Marvin R Heggie, 27, of Raleigh, and Derrick King, 23, of Aurora, were charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and mail fraud. The Heggies and Hunter also were charged with wire fraud, and the Heggies were charged with making false statements on loan applications and identity theft.

Authorities said that, between June 2007 and March, the four recruited people to provide their identification information, including Social Security numbers, and they used the information to submit fake student loan applications to Chase Bank. The applications included a fraudulent billing form from East Carolina University and phony W-2 forms, authorities said.

The student loans the bank approved ranged from $10,000 to $28,300, authorities said, and the four would split the proceeds of each check with the people whose identifying information was used to complete the loan applications, authorities said.

“This crime hits at the heart of an important program that provides student loans and financial aid money to deserving students," U.S. Attorney George Holding said in a statement. "This prosecution is an effort to make sure this program is handled properly and funds are made available to those truly eligible.”