SPARTANBURG, SC — The West Columbia woman who lead a financial aid fraud scheme involving Piedmont Technical College was sentenced Wednesday to 13 months in a federal prison, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office release.
Fiasha A. Paul, 26, was pleaded guilty in December to mail fraud in a conspiracy to collect student loan money for personal use.
Paul, a former test proctor and Piedmont Tech employee, took placement tests for people so they could enroll in the Abbeville community college with financial aid. Some of the applicants didn’t have high school diplomas, so ones were forged and sent to the school. Paul typically charged $300 per placement test.
But once the applicants had been accepted to the school and had received financial aid checks, they didn’t attend any classes, the release states. Instead, the checks were used to pay for personal expenses.
One of the people involved in the scheme, 27-year-old Tarshikia Pickens received more than $9,000 in financial aid that she wasn’t entitled to, according to a December U.S. Attorney’s Office release. An estimated $50,000 in financial aid was taken during the scheme from 2010 to 2012.
In addition to her prison sentence, Paul will also have to pay $21,000 in restitution.
Pickens also pleaded guilty to mail fraud in December, but it is immediately unknown if she has been sentenced.