For Reynolds Community College, there’s a scandal that regards the Director of Financial Aid. Keisha Pope has been working at J. Sargent Reynolds Community College for over ten years until she was found guilty of a connection to an eight-year scheme where she drew $380,000 from student financial aid funds. If you think that’s bad, it gets worse. Keisha Pope, 48-years old, had been working at the college from 2006 to 2017. Then from 2017 to 2011, she decided to use her financial aid access to fabricate the excuse that the individuals who went to school, often times her relatives, were actually shown to have eligibility for financial aid.
But in reality, they were not. They were just agents to send Pope the majority of the illegally obtained money. As of a result, Pope and her co-conspirators had collected about $246,450 in federal financial aid and $133,152 in state financial aid.
Pope has allowed the funds towards her car repairs, shopping, a cruise and expenses as well for her young daughter. She has been charged with committing wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. As a result, Pope is expected to pay about $230,850 in restitution. Pope is in need of giving about $150,628 towards the U.S. Department of Education. The agreement shows that $62,240 can go to Virginia while $17,982 will be forwarded to Reynolds Community College.
Through this heinous crime, Pope has been sentenced to about 63 months in prison for the complexity of the crime.
In a statement, Joe Schilling, the director of communications and special assistant to the president of Reynolds Community College had this to say: “Leadership of the Reynolds Financial Aid Office, as well college leaders responsible for its oversight during the timeframe referenced, are no longer employed at Reynolds. New leadership of the financial aid office has been in place since March of 2018 and has worked diligently to ensure the integrity of all aspects of our financial aid operations. Reynolds is in full compliance with the U.S. Department of Education to participate in the administration of federal financial aid.”
Pope herself has falsified supporting documents that would justify he financial aid allotment. Pope even took one moment to forge medical documents and financial aid documents in order to hide the costs necessary to help her goddaughter which was failing to meet academic eligibility, considering breast cancer diagnosis, even though the goddaughter had no actual cancer.
If Pope doesn’t handle her payment well, she may be looking at about 20 years in prison. Not to mention an additional two year mandatory sentence if convicted of aggravated identity theft. According to the Department of Justice, actual sentence times for federal level crimes can amount to less than the maximum penalty.