Webster University
12:52 pm
Wed June 8, 2011

SC woman pleads guilty to defrauding Webster University

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A former South Carolina inmate has pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges for posing as online students at Webster University and collecting thousands of dollars of financial aid.

The U.S. attorney's office in St. Louis said Wednesday that Michelle Owens submitted fraudulent admission applications to the suburban St. Louis-based university in the names of 23 people who were inmates at Leath Correctional Institution in South Carolina.

Prosecutors say Owens sought about $467,000 in student loans, using nearly $125,000 of that for personal expenses.

The federal attorney's office says Owens pleaded guilty Monday in Florence, S.C., to one count each of mail fraud and federal student financial aid fraud. Prosecutors say she gained access to inmates' personal information while she was a prisoner there from December 2007 to September 2008.