(STL.News) – Robert J. Higdon, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, announces that a federal grand jury in Raleigh has returned an indictment charging Jill Thompson Arrington, age 42, of Rocky Mount, with seven counts of wire fraud, one count of theft of government property, and one count of financial aid fraud.
According to the indictment, Arrington unlawfully obtained Pell grants and federally insured loans by claiming to pursue a post-secondary education when she had no intent of doing so. Specifically, to receive the financial aid, Arrington falsely certified on Free Applications for Federal Student Aid and indicated on various post-secondary institutions’ admissions application forms that she intended to pursue degrees, often online, at the institutions. After the aid was disbursed to the post-secondary institutions and Arrington received her funds, she often stopped participating in the courses. During her scheme, Arrington applied to thirteen post-secondary institutions and received approximately $34,471.73 in student aid refunds.
If convicted of the wire fraud counts, Arrington faces a maximum penalty of twenty years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. Arrington faces a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine if she is convicted of theft of government property. The financial aid fraud count carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and a $50,000 fine if Arrington is convicted. Each count requires a term of up to three years supervised release following any term of imprisonment.
The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
The case is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of the Inspector General, with assistance from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.