Two Louisiana College Students Charged with Identity Theft
SHREVEPORT, LA (STL.News) Acting United States Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook announced that Hayden Philip Breaux, 21, of Houma, Louisiana and D’Quincy Marquis Jones, 23, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, have both been charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury with one count of conspiracy to commit identity theft and five counts of identity theft.
The indictment alleges that Breaux and Jones were involved in a fraudulent scheme to obtain emergency financial aid grants offered to colleges as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, which was passed by the U.S. Congress in March 2020. As part of the CARES Act, funds were given to the Office of Postsecondary Education as the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. Louisiana College in Pineville, Louisiana was an institution of higher learning allotted emergency funding for its students.
It is alleged in the indictment that between June 5, 2020 and June 20, 2020, Breaux and Jones conspired to fraudulently obtain CARES Act funds for their own use. Breaux and Jones and other members of the conspiracy used personally identifiable information (“PII”), specifically, the Louisiana College Student Identification Numbers and passwords of other students to access the Louisiana College Online Student Portal (“the Portal”) to apply for CARES Act emergency financial aid grants in the names of individuals and direct the grants to specific bank accounts controlled by members of the conspiracy. In total, members of this conspiracy used, without lawful authority, the Louisiana College Student Identification Numbers and passwords of nine individuals to access the Portal, to apply for, and direct payment of CARES Act emergency financial aid from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.
An indictment is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The FBI and U.S. Department of Education – Office of Inspector General are conducting the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth D. Reeg is prosecuting the case.