OH: Stolen prisoners’ identities netted $422,523 in college loans

Alan Johnson reports:

State investigators have uncovered a scheme where the identities of prison inmates were stolen to fraudulently apply for and receive $422,523 in student college loans.

Ohio Inspector General Randall J. Meyer found the fraud during a two-year investigation after receiving a tip from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General in 2014. Meyer’s report, released today, faulted the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction for not following procedures to protect confidential inmate information.

However, no criminal charges were recommended by Meyer because it was not possible to identify who actually stole the confidential information and who benefited from it.

Read more on The Columbus Dispatch.

In related coverage, Jeremy Pelzer reports:

The inspector general’s report, released Tuesday, found that an unidentified scammer — or scammers — used 62 inmate identities to enroll in schools around the United States and successfully apply for student aid between February 2012 and July 2014.

Investigators concluded the inmates’ information was likely obtained through the state’s computer database of prisoners, which lists each inmate’s Social Security number and birth date. About 15,000 state employees and contractors have access to the database, and the state’s prisons agency was exempted from having to keep records on users’ activity, according to the report.

Read more on Cleveland.com.

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