Fifteen people were indicted Friday on charges they took out federal student loans to attend college for people who never intended to go to college.
The defendants were charged with mail fraud, wire fraud and financial aid fraud, according to the indictment from the U.S. District Court of South Carolina, Charleston Division.
More detailed information on those indicted was not available from the U.S. Attorney's Office, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Dean Secor could not be reached for comment.
But the indictment states that beginning in 2006, some of the people helped others take out student loans to attend online programs at the University of Phoenix, Grand Canyon University and Capella University.
Student loans are to be used for tuition, fees and educational expenses. Loan checks go directly to the schools, which in turn deduct tuition and fees. The schools then pass on the balances to students.
But the 15 people indicted caused loans and grants in excess of $400,000 to be distributed to individuals who were not eligible to receive them.
Balance checks ranging from $219 to $4,703 were mailed to undisclosed addresses in North Charleston, Walterboro, Green Pond, Ruffin, Fairfax, Yemassee and Cottageville.