Included in the indictments, a pair of desert women are accused of committing fraud through Bakersfield College and other institutions to the tune of $150,000 collectively, the Department of Justice said Tuesday.
Shauna Marie Fabrega, 32, of Palmdale, allegedly recruited individuals to act as straw applicants for federal student aid at Bakersfield College, Cerro Coso Community College and Santa Barbara City College. She allegedly recruited applicants who were not students and did not attend classes, the U.S. Attorney's office said.
Fabrega allegedly committed identity theft while applying for federal aid. She's accused of using prepaid debit cards in the names of the enrolled students to receive the funds. Some colleges also sent checks directly to Fabrega's home.
April Lynn Myles, 35, of Lancaster, allegedly recruited people to act as straw students and apply for federal student aid at Bakersfield College and Santa Barbara City College. The applicants were not students and did not attend classes.
Myles also allegedly applied for federal funds in her own name and enrolled herself in courses at Bakersfield College and Santa Barbara City College, even though she wasn't a high school graduate and wasn't eligible to enroll in college.
She's also suspected of stealing identification information and using that information to apply for federal student aid funds, bilking the Department of Education out of more than $80,000.
Fabrega, Myles and the other 19 defendants in the indictments are charged with a variety of felony offenses, including conspiracy, financial aid fraud, identity theft, mail fraud and wire fraud.