Wednesday, January 8 2014 5:50 PM EST2014-01-08 22:50:22 GMT
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -
Four Montgomery residents have been sentenced for their
involvement in a conspiracy to defraud the United States Department of
Education, and various colleges and universities of financial aid money. Bobbie
Jean Chilsom, Sara Chilsom, Shawn Johnson, and Sharon Johnson were sentenced by
United States District Judge Myron Thompson on Friday.
Bobbie Chilsom was sentenced to 24 months of imprisonment
followed by three years of supervised release for mail fraud. Bobbie was also
ordered to pay $276,734 in restitution. Sara Chilsom was sentenced to three
years of probation for mail fraud and was ordered to pay $10,845 in
restitution. Shawn Johnson was sentenced to five years of probation, 12 months
of home confinement, and ten weekends in jail for mail fraud. Shawn was also
ordered to pay $222,068 in restitution. Sharon Johnson was sentenced to five
years of probation, 12 months of home confinement, and three weekends in jail
for conspiracy to commit to defraud the United States. Sharon was ordered to
pay $397,963 in restitution.
From September 2008 to September 2012, the defendants
defrauded the Department of Education and multiple colleges and universities of
approximately $1,152,994 in Federal Student Assistance money. FSA money must be
used by a student for tuition, university fees, books, supplies,
transportation, or other educational and living expenses.
The defendants, as well as other individuals they recruited
for this scheme, applied for financial aid but did not have a high school
diploma or a general education development (GED) certificate. The defendants
created false diplomas and used them to enroll into the schools. As a result,
the Department of Education paid tuition, enrollment fees, and living expenses
for the defendants and other individuals.
After the money was received, the recruited individuals
would pay the leaders of the conspiracy a percentage of the funds by mailing
them debit ref F
cards or refund checks. Evidence showed that the defendants
or the recruited individuals would not attend or would minimally attend the
courses they were signed up for. They also would not complete or minimally
complete the course work. The funds received were used for personal items and
to pay for personal expenses.
Including the four defendants listed above, a total of 13
defendants were involved in the conspiracy. Previously sentenced individuals were
Telvin Brown, Sunquesha Gaston, Philanthia Roberts, Printice Johnson, Shirley
Johnson, Samuella McMillian, Edmond Lewis Harris, Jr., and Richard Jamar
Pinkston, Jr. for mail fraud. Dennis Coleman was sentenced for conspiring to
defraud the United States. All defendants are from Montgomery.