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nortonscientificcollection

13 plead guilty to Walterboro area student-aid scam

Thirteen people, many from Walterboro, pleaded guilty this month to conspiring to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and student financial-aid fraud.

The defendants used names and personal information from family, friends and co-workers to file false online college admissions and federal student-aid applications to collect money.

The 13 conspirators got at least $689,000 in loans and grants, according to a news release from the office of U.S. attorney Bill Nettles.

The case was investigated by the Department of Education, the Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Postal Service and the U.S. Secret Service.

Judge David Norton will review all the cases and issue a sentence at a later date. Nettles said the maximum penalty for each defendant is a $250,000 fine, 5 years in prison or both.

Those pleading guilty in federal court in Charleston to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, and student financial aid fraud are:

  • Deena Holmes, 39, of Walterboro
  • Sierra Thomas, 24, of Green Pond
  • Mayella Saxon, 52, of Fairfax
  • Helen Ross, 41, of Williston
  • Shanean Glaze, 32, of Walterboro
  • Kourtney Fishburne, 27, of Orlando, Fla.
  • Marvin Spell, 48, of Yemassee
  • Tameko Fishburne, 27, of Walterboro
  • Marquita Fishburne, 28, of Walterboro
  • Cleo Fryar (also known as Cleo Cooper), 39, of Walterboro
  • Lena Gant, 48, of Walterboro
  • Latanya Cochran, 41, of Orangeburg
  • Shannon Fishburne, 32, of Walterboro
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