Tyrone Young Defrauded More than a Half-Dozen Universities
Danville, VIRGINIA – A Danville resident, who committed federal student loan fraud by enrolling dozens of individuals in online universities for personal financial gain, was sentenced yesterday in federal court to more than nine years in prison, United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen announced.
Tyrone Dwayne Young, 30, was sentenced yesterday to 111 months in federal prison. The Court, also ordered Young to pay restitution of more than $1.1 million to the United States Department of Education and eight institutions of higher education, including Strayer University, Capella University, Post University, the University of Phoenix, Derry University, Kaplan University, Argosy University and Liberty University based in Lynchburg. The Court’s sentencing orders follow Young’s guilty plea on November 1, 2018, to one count of wire fraud, one count of student loan fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft, the latter of which carries a mandatory sentence of two years.
According to information presented at previous hearings by Assistant United States Attorney Kari Munro, beginning in or about May 2016, Young started using the personal identifiers of family members and friends to enroll them as students in online universities. Working through Department of Education and university websites, he created fraudulent student profiles to enroll his victims in online courses of study for the purpose of obtaining federal student loans in their names. His victims never completed their courses of study and eventually failed or were withdrawn, in most instances after student loan funds for their educational programs had been disbursed. Young tracked and orchestrated the receipt of these fraudulent student loan funds for personal use.
Eventually, Young expanded his efforts to include individuals outside his immediate circle of family and friends. Posing as a higher education employee, Young encouraged low-income residents in the greater Danville area to provide their personal identifiers for enrollment purposes, promising free government money and other benefits. In all, Young’s scheme involved the use of personal identifying information for more than 60 individuals, resulting in an attempted loss to the Department of Education and affected institutions of more than $1.4 million.
Investigation of this case was conducted by the United States Department of Education, Office of Inspector General and the United States Postal Inspection Service, with assistance from the Virginia State Police. Assistant United States Attorney Kari Munro prosecuted the case for the United States.