HOUSTON, Texas (ValleyCentral) — A Texas man has been charged with fraud in connection to an alleged $600,000 financial aid scheme involving several Texas colleges.
Authorities allege that Emmanuel Finnih, 39, over the course of five years, used personal information of over 30 alleged students to prepare, submit, sign false financial aid applications and promissory notes in the students’ name, according to a news release from the U.S. District Attorney’s Office.
Finnih is accused of adjusting mailing addresses, telephone numbers, and email accounts to ensure that he would receive all communications from the Department of Education and the alleged eight colleges he obtained funds from.
According to the release, the financial aid refunds through electronic transfer, check and prepaid debit cards were sent to the adjusted mailing addresses and bank accounts.
The charges allege that Finnih possessed identity documents such as temporary driver permits and identification cards to receive financial aid funds for personal benefit.
Charges include one count each of theft of government funds, student financial aid fraud, unlawful use or transfer of identity documents and aggravated identity theft, according to a press release.
If convicted of theft of governmental funds, Finnih faces up to 10 years in federal prison. Student financial aid fraud and unlawful use or transfer of identity documents carry a five-year prison term. Each aggravated identity theft count carries a sentence of two years.
The Department of Education conducted the investigation with assistance from the Lone Star College Police Department and U.S. Marshals Service.