Ex-inmate gets 4 years for student aid fraud against Webster University

Sep 30, 2011

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A former South Carolina inmate has been sentenced to more than four years in prison for using the identities of 23 fellow prisoners to collect thousands of dollars of student financial aid through Webster University in suburban St. Louis.

Michelle Owens of Florence, S.C., pleaded guilty in June to federal student financial aid fraud and mail fraud. She was sentenced Thursday in Florence.

Owens submitted fraudulent admission applications by using personal information taken from other inmates at Leath Correctional Institution. Owens gained access to the personal information of inmates while serving a forgery sentence from December 2007 to September 2008. Owens worked in the prison's education department
while she was an inmate.

Owens must pay $128,852 in restitution. A spokeswoman says the university is glad the case is resolved.