The NC man used the homeless to steal financial aid, the Federals say

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Free application form for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the academic years from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018.

AP file

A man in East North Carolina is facing criminal charges after the federal prosecutor’s office said he organized a devised scheme of deception by the US Department of Education by submitting dozens of false applications for financial aid.

Dwayne Montrick Burton is accused of stealing $ 294,421 by filing 28 applications for financial aid on behalf of people he claimed studied at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington. In fact, according to prosecutors, Burton took into his pocket the return of homeless people who “did not intend to visit the CFCC.”

On February 15, in the Eastern District of North Carolina, Burton was accused of conspiracy to defraud the federal government, stealing personal information in aggravating circumstances and using firearms to commit a crime related to drug trafficking, court documents show.

On Tuesday, February 22, he could not be reached for comment.

A lawyer representing Burton and a U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman did not immediately respond to McClatchy News’ request for comment.

According to the indictment, the alleged fraud covered the period from 2014 to 2020. Prosecutors said Burton targeted homeless people and offered them drugs in exchange for their personal information.

He then used their abductees to file fake applications for admission to Cape Fear Community College, which he backed up with high school transcripts, GEDs and test scores that were either fabricated or fraudulently obtained, the government said.

Burton subsequently used the same information to apply for financial assistance on their behalf Free application for federal student assistance, or FAFSAadministered by the U.S. Department of Education, according to the fee collection documents.

Financial aid is directed to the higher education institution attended by the student, to pay tuition, fees and other expenses. But if the amount they receive exceeds the cost of tuition and fees, the student receives a balance in the form of a refund.

Prosecutors said Burton was looking for checks for a refund, which he reportedly cashed or sent to bank accounts in someone else’s name.

Burton sometimes sent checks to a mailbox he rented in Jacksonville, North Carolina, according to the charging documents. He also reportedly had other people’s cash checks paid in their name in exchange for drugs, or he forced them to take the GED exam by pretending to be someone else, the government said.

Court documents do not indicate whether a warrant has been issued for Burton’s arrest, but prosecutors have issued a report confiscating a 9mm Diamondback pistol that was confiscated from his home in July 2020.

Hailey Fowler is a reporter for The Charlotte Observer, which covers the latest news in North and South Carolina in real time. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and previously worked as a legal reporter in New York City before joining the Observer in 2019.

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