Two former LC students facing federal charges for CARES Act identity theft
PINEVILLE, La. (KALB) - Two former Louisiana College students have been indicted by a federal grand jury as part of a scheme to steal CARES Act money from other students, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office Western District of Louisiana.
Hayden Philip Breaux, 21, of Houma, and D’Quincy Marquis Jones, 23, of Baton Rouge, were charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury with one count of conspiracy to commit identity theft and five counts of identity theft.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s news release, the indictment alleges that Breaux and Jones were involved in a fraudulent scheme to obtain emergency financial aid grants offered to colleges as part of the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act), which was passed by the U.S. Congress in March of last year. That money was given to the Office of Postsecondary Education as the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. Louisiana College was among the schools given that emergency funding for its students.
The indictment alleges that between June 5, 2020, and June 20, 2020, Breaux and Jones conspired to fraudulently obtain CARES Act funds for their own use. It said that Breaux, Jones and other members of the conspiracy used Louisiana College student identification numbers and passwords of nine other students to access LC’s online student portal. Once there, they applied for CARES Act emergency financial aid grants in the names of those students and directed the grants to specific bank accounts “controlled by members of the conspiracy.”
A Louisiana College spokesperson said it was the school that had alerted law enforcement officials about the possible theft.
“Since the April 2020 issuance of federal funding for the COVID-19 pandemic, Louisiana College has followed the U.S. Department of Education requirements for awarding and distributing emergency grants to students. In June 2020, LC accounting personnel discovered possible instances of fraudulent activity by grant recipients and immediately informed appropriate law enforcement officials.”
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI and U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General are conducting the investigation.
The LC spokesperson said the college continues to support and cooperate fully with the ongoing federal investigation.
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