Richmond man charged with stealing $600,000 in fraudulent student loans

A former Texas Southern University employee faces seven federal charges alleging he fraudulently obtained $600,000 in financial aid by enrolling ‘students’ at Texas colleges and universities and submitting their loan applications to personal purposes, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Emmanuel Finnih, 39, from Richmond, is accused of using the fraudulent or stolen IDs of 32 alleged students to obtain their financial aid.

Brenton Keith Jackson, Sr., who represents Finnih, said he looks forward to defending his client in court. Finnih is “very smart”, he said, and used to work at TSU “trying to help young people find their way”.

It reportedly enrolled students at eight institutions: Houston Community College, Lone Star College, Texas Southern University, Blinn College, Tarrant County College District, Wharton County Junior College, Lee College and Austin Community College. Most of them did not participate and either failed or were withdrawn from their courses.

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Since 2017, Finnih has used other people’s personal IDs to prepare, submit and sign financial aid applications and master promissory notes on their behalf, authorities say in the indictment. He also used mailing addresses, phone numbers and email accounts he controlled to ensure that communications and funds reached him directly, according to charges brought by the Southern District Attorney’s Office of Texas.

He secured the financial aid repayments by wire transfer, check and prepaid debit cards — in total, costing the United States more than $595,000, according to federal prosecutors.

Finnih is also accused of stealing the identities of two alleged students. He and other unidentified people who helped him with the process used other people’s documents for some of the applications, such as temporary driver’s licenses or ID cards, according to the deed. ‘charge.

At least one of the stolen identities was from someone incarcerated at the time Finnih was accused of submitting false FAFSA forms. He sometimes changed women’s names to sound masculine so he could use his own photos in job applications, authorities said.

The lawsuit does not specify whether Finnih used his position at TSU in the alleged fraud. The school, however, confirmed that he was employed as an adjunct teacher and not working under financial aid.

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Finnih is charged with one count of theft of government funds, student financial aid fraud and unlawful use or transfer of identity documents. He also faces four counts of aggravated impersonation.

If convicted of theft of public funds, Finnih faces up to 10 years in federal prison. Aggravated identity theft charges carry two-year sentences, which must be served consecutively. Student financial aid fraud and the unlawful use or transfer of identity documents are each punishable by five years in prison.

A federal grand jury handed down the indictment on September 28. Finnih was arrested two days later.

About Judith J. George

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