By Rick Sallinger
DENVER (CBS4)– Five people have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on charges of conspiracy, identity theft and student loan fraud.
They are alleged to have used the loans for things like betting, travel and cosmetic surgery.
One of those charged is Andrew Sanchez. CBS4 investigator Rick Sallinger attempted to speak with him as he left court on Tuesday.
“Were you spending student loan money on face-lifts, how about gambling, travel? Aren’t student loans supposed to be used for education?” Sallinger asked, but to each question Sanchez replied only, “No thank you.”
He and the others are accused of defrauding Community College of Denver, Front Range Community College and the United States Department of Education.
Carmen Sanchez is alleged to have paid thousands of dollars for what’s called Lifestyle Lifts. That company was not involved.
Jeremayah Gonzalez is charged with obtaining information from employee files where he works then applying for federal student loans in their names.
Instead of spending funds on education attending a college Sara Sanchez is said to have attended events at the Pepsi Center.
“How do you respond to that?” Sallinger asked, “Why are you hiding your face? I guess you don’t want to speak. Thank you.”
According to the indictment, student aid was distributed by the Department of Education to Community College of Denver and Front Range Community College. The schools used a company called “Bank Mobile” to distribute the aid. Money was placed in accounts in the students’ names and the student could then access the money through a debit card.
The fifth person named in the indictment is Anthony Sanchez. He had not been arrested as of the time that the others charged appeared in court.
Community College of Denver issued the following statement in response to a request for comment by CBS4: Community College of Denver (CCD) serves a large population of students who use federal financial aid to help them afford the cost of attending college, e.g., books, supplies or transportation. This fraudulent act, which was uncovered by a diligent CCD staffer, led to increased measures to verify educational intent and identify fraud in the application process. These continued efforts ensure CCD students have access to financial aid assistance in their pursuit of higher education and workforce training.