New Orleans woman gets 33 months in prison for financial aid scam

A federal judge sentenced a New Orleans woman to nearly three years in prison this week for a scam in which she reaped more than $110,000 in federal financial aid by enrolling at several colleges under other people’s names or using her own name while forging transcripts and supplying other false information.

Southern University at New Orleans, the University of New Orleans, Southeastern Louisiana University and Colorado State University were among the schools that accepted the applications from Renata Foreman, in her name and those of nine others. The schools took some of the nearly $200,000 in financial aid she was awarded and sent the rest to Foreman, according to U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite Jr.’s office.

U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan sentenced Foreman to 33 months in prison and ordered her to pay $191,617 in restitution.

According to a factual basis underlying Foreman’s guilty plea in October to theft of government funds, mail fraud and identity theft, she developed the scheme in 2005 and continued to cash financial aid proceeds until 2012.

Foreman admitted that she “routinely forged transcripts for herself and in other individuals’ names to various colleges in order to gain admission.” She also admitted to misrepresenting her income to maximize financial aid payments.

The other people she supposedly enrolled in college didn’t know it, authorities said. In one case, she used the name of someone who lost his wallet in the French Quarter with his driver’s license and other personal information in it.

Foreman received the ill-gotten funds in wire transfers or checks.

The case against Foreman was led by investigators with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, according to Polite’s office.