LaPlace woman sentenced to theft of more than $280,000 in federal student aid

Published 10:37 am Thursday, July 1, 2021

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NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana, announced that Ashly Howard (“Howard”), age 34, of LaPlace, Louisiana, was sentenced on June 24, 2021 to five (5) years probation in federal court before U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon for Theft of Government Funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641 and Identity Theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028(a)(7).

According to court documents, beginning in 2018 and continuing through 2019, Howard fraudulently submitted Free Applications for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and/or Master Promissory Notes (MPN) in individual’s names in an effort to obtain federal financial aid. Howard facilitated the submission of thirty (30) applications for admission to Nunez Community College in Chalmette, Louisiana in these individuals’ names. Howard facilitated the creation of debit cards in these individuals’ names so that the student loan proceeds could be disbursed. Howard accepted the grants and student loans and used the federal financial aid funds under the names of these individuals. Some of the financial aid were used with the knowledge and consent of these individuals and some were used without. Accordingly, Howard fraudulently received approximately $280,000 in Department of Education funds to which she was not entitled.

U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans praised the work of the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Inspector General.  The prosecution of this case was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn McHugh