L.A. County probation officer arrested on federal fraud charges
A Los Angeles County probation officer was arrested Thursday on federal wire fraud charges for allegedly bilking the federal financial aid system out of at least $18,000 by using a fake identity.
Angenette Thomas, 43, of Rialto was taken into custody at a Probation Department office in San Dimas by special agents with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Inspector General.
Thomas is accused of assuming another identity to get extra loans.
According to federal charges, she obtained student loans and grants to attend several local colleges, including Platt College, University of La Verne, Cal State Fullerton, Cal State San Bernardino and National University in La Jolla.
After Thomas allegedly defaulted on many of these loans, she applied for more financial aid in March 2009 and falsely claimed on the paperwork that she was not in default on a federal student loan.
In the application under a fake name, Thomas allegedly claimed she had never attended college and earned no income in 2008.
Prosecutors say those statements allowed her to received more federal student aid.
According to the federal charges, Thomas received more than $135,000 in federal student aid with at least $18,000 being obtained by alleged fraud.
When interviewed by federal agents in January, prosecutors said, “Thomas lied about her employment and education.”
Thomas was due to appear in a federal court Thursday afternoon in Riverside. If convicted of wire fraud, she could face up to 20 years in federal prison.
-- Richard Winton