Former VCU student and mother plead guilty to student aid fraud

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RICHMOND, Va.  -- A mother and daughter entered guilty pleas on Thursday, charged with student aid fraud.

Mother Donnica Crossland, of Washington, D.C., pleaded guilty today to making false statements to federal agents in connection with an investigation of student aid fraud.  Her daughter, Jamanda Crossland, pleaded guilty today to making false statements on student financial aid applications.

Jamanda attended Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) as a student between 2009 to 2013.

During those years she was awarded $69,788 in grants or loans, and $43,400 in tuition grants from the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education, Government of the District of Columbia (“OSSE”) that were used to pay costs associated with attending VCU.

For each year Jamanda attended VCU between 2008 and 2013, she filed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with the U.S. Department of Education and reported her mother Donnica Crossland had no income.

During that same period, she also filed applications for education grants with the D.C. OSSE, and in those applications stated her mother Donnica Crossland was not employed and received no income, according to federal prosecutors.

Authorities later discovered that Jamanda's mother worked at the US Department of Transportation, making over $521,000 from December 2006 to December 2012.

Jamanda also submitted a Federal Student Aid Verification worksheet containing false information to VCU and provided additional false documents in support of the worksheet, according to federal prosecutors.

Said documents include fraudulent copies of Form 1040 for her father, a forged letter from her father regarding his marital status, and a fake utility bill with a false address for her mother.

VCU student, Jessica McCoy said her parents tried applying for financial aid, but they didn't get the result for which they had hoped.

"They said my parents made too much money to get any financial aid," said McCoy.

Now,  news of a mother and daughter involved in a student aid fraud investigation has her that much more upset since her family went through the process the honest way.

"It's so frustrating for me because the pressure is on me to make sure I do good," said McCoy.

"It's unfair, I know a lot of people that actually need financial aid," said VCU student, Taylor Jones.

"It makes me furious," said one VCU student. "The money that they are taking from financial aid by forging documents is money that people who need it more could get."

Donnica and Jamanda each face a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and full restitution when they are each sentenced on December 12, 2014, by United States District Judge Henry Hudson.

 

22 comments

  • Adam

    How were her grades?
    Good for her at least trying to get over on the system.
    Our government should have a system in place where all kids receive higher education, with a focus on vocational aptitude.

    • Tommy Turner

      Good for her for committing a felony??? Good for her learning a trade (forging documents). Good for her taking money that could be used by people who legitimately qualify.

    • Mo Fiscal conservatism

      There are programs. I went to community college my first 2 years, which can be paid out of pocket if you’re good with money. Then transferred to a similar in-state school to finish the last 2 years. While holding down a full time job I finished with very little debt. So I got a degree from a top University with very little debt. You can’t expect to receive a service from someone else for free all of the time.

  • Paula

    They need to go to jail. What good is her education to her now because nobody will hire her with a record. That money could have help someone that REALLY needed it.

  • Thomas Dolby

    Got to hate it when a person paying the taxes receives a benefit. That’s just not fair. The tissues are to your left.

    • Mike

      That was extraordinarily racist stating that all white people have money. Everyone can have money if they WORK for it. If you aren’t willing to work for it, you will not make it.

    • BO

      Everyone that wants more tries to get over.It is called the difference between success and failure.Look how well the people that did everything by the letter of the law faired after the crash of 08.Take lesson,life ain’t fair and never is gonna be.

    • athynz

      Some of us Saltine-Americans actually did the right thing and got loans for our higher education and/or went to community colleges then transferred to 4 year schools. Some of us actually worked as well and saved money.

  • Shelley

    Kitty, you have major issues. It is people like you that continue to drive a wedge between the races. Additonally, why are you convinced that this family is white? I did not see race mentioned, nor did I even care about the color of their skin. The story is not about race, it is about cheating the system. No matter your color, if you lie, cheat, forge, and steal-then you should do the time. Please wake up and stop trying to divide the honest folks of all races.

  • shewastaken

    Kitty – I’m white – I worked at a university for 30 years (one that gave full-time employees 2 free classes per semester.) It took me SEVENTEEN years to earn my Bachelor’s Degree. That’s ONE – SEVEN – 17 years. That was while working full-time, taking care of a sick mother, and dying husband.
    Race gripes aside – fraud is fraud. Send them to jail…

  • John

    I suggest going to community college for the first 2 years, and then transferring. The costs of community college are high. The cost of a college degree is getting to the point where it isn’t worth the added income you will make with the degree…IF you can get a job in the field your educated in.
    I would suggest that kids that aren’t ready for taking college seriously to simply put college off their agenda. Then explore what career fields they may like by taking a few years to give a few different jobs a try.

  • Paula

    Kitty what world do you live in? Black people have money as well as anyone else. Race wasn’t important here but taking money by flase pretense was the story. STOP starting trouble.

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