Las Vegas woman, 2 others accused of stealing inmate identities to obtain nearly $1M in student loans

Las Vegas woman, 2 others accused of stealing inmate identities to obtain nearly $1M in student loans

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Authorities arrested a Las Vegas woman this week on federal charges, alleging that she and two other women ran a scheme to fraudulently obtain nearly $1 million in federal student loans, the Justice Department announced Friday.

Dionne Ramsey, 36, of Las Vegas; her older sister Nyisha Ramsey, 43, and Nyisha’s mother-in-law Sharyn Barney, 62, both of Lancaster, California, were arrested this week on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution and bank fraud, documents said.

Dionne Ramsey faces four additional counts of wire fraud affecting a financial institution. Dionne Ramsey and Barney have also been charged with one count of bank fraud.

According to the indictment, from January 2012 to August 2017, the three women are accused of obtaining personal information, such as names and Social Security numbers, of California prison inmates and other victims in order to fraudulently enroll in an Orange County-based community college.

The women then allegedly took out approximately $980,000 in federal student loans, which were then used for personal expenses, documents said.

According to federal regulations, federal student-loan funds can only be used to pay the cost of attending an institution of higher education. Incarcerated individuals are not eligible to receive such funds.

All three women were arrested this week and released on bond. Nyisha Ramsay and Barney plead not guilty to the charges against them at their arraignment in Los Angeles. They are scheduled to be back in court on April 25.

Dionne Ramsey made her initial court appearance on Thursday in Nevada federal court. She is expected to be arraigned in Los Angeles in the coming weeks.

If convicted, all three women would face a statutory maximum of 30 years in federal prison for each count.

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