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January 17, 2014

MADIGAN CHARGES FOUR FOR STUDENT LOAN FRAUD IN DUPAGE COUNTY

Chicago Area Defendants Allegedly Commit Identity Theft to Obtain Over $100,000 in Financial Aid

Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today announced charges against four Chicago area defendants for conspiring to steal more than $100,000 in financial aid from the U.S. Department of Education.

Madigan’s office charged defendants Dasia Blue, 28, of Monee; Lorin Brown, 35 of Monee; Olympia Blue, 32, of Glendale Heights; and Jessie Wright, 26, of Glendale Heights, with identity theft of over $100,000, theft of over $100,000, continuing financial crimes enterprise, theft of government property of over $10,000, mail fraud and wire fraud.

Madigan alleged in charges filed in DuPage County Criminal Court that the four defendants stole their targets’ personal information and used it to apply for financial aid from the U.S. Department of Education.

Between January 2012 and February 2013, Madigan alleged the four defendants, in applying to take online classes at College of DuPage and the University of Phoenix, used the stolen information to take out student loans totaling more than $100,000.

The loans were issued in the form of debit cards and checks through U.S. Bank and Chase Bank. The debit cards and checks were made out to the identity theft victims but instead directed to the defendants in varying amounts, from $7,000 to $13,000. A search warrant executed in February 2013 at the home of Brown and Dasia Blue recovered paper and computer records containing the identities of more than 50 people. In addition to the losses to the identity theft victims, College of DuPage lost approximately $30,000 in tuition.

“The defendants conducted an extensive, coordinated scheme that involved the use of more than 50 stolen identities to obtain fraudulent funds,” Madigan said. “This case reinforces how important it is to protect and carefully monitor your personal information to avoid falling victim to identity theft.”

The case was investigated by College of DuPage Police Department with assistance from the U.S. Secret Service. Investigations uncovered the scheme after one of the identity theft victims, who had never enrolled for classes at either of the schools, began receiving notices and bills for tuition payments, according to the Attorney General’s charges.

Defendants Wright and Brown pled not guilty earlier today before Judge Kathryn E. Creswell and will be in court next on March 4 and March 20, respectively. Arrest warrants for Dasia Blue and Olympia Blue remain outstanding.

Assistant Attorney General Edward Snow is handling the case for Madigan’s Financial Crimes Bureau.

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