A former admissions worker at Tennessee State University (TSU) was sentenced to more than 30 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to student loan fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
The US Department of Justice said Renauld Clayton, a 32-year-old Nashville resident, was indicted in May 2019, after he was arrested for managing an elaborate scheme to steal and divert $84,506 in student loans into a bank account set up using a false name and Social Security number (SSN).
During the 2019 investigation, the accused was also found harboring a counterfeit Social Security card, a stolen driver’s license and numerous credit/debit cards.
Clayton pleaded guilty in February 2020, and faces 32 months in federal prison for fraudulently using students’ personal identifiable information (PII) to apply for financial aid and diverted the funds to accounts he controlled. He was also ordered to pay back the stolen funds.
“While employed in the admissions office of TSU, he obtained the personal identifying information of TSU students and others and applied for student loans in their names,” the DOJ said. “When the funds were received, Clayton diverted the money to his own use and others and deposited more than $60,000 of the funds to bank accounts that he controlled.”
While most identity-theft cases stem from a data breach or phishing attack, some fraudsters continue to leverage their position within an institution to commit such crimes.
If you suspect that your student or personal information has been compromised in any way, act quickly and immediately report your concerns to local authorities. Scammers are quite aware that students receive such financial aid, and may target them with fraudulent emails or SMSs, asking for their personal and financial details.
Never reveal too much personal information on social media or other online platforms, and review your account statements for any suspicious activity.