Ex-Virginia school administrator gets 5 years for fraud

July 20, 2022 GMT

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Richmond woman was sentenced Tuesday to more than five years in prison for directing a yearslong scheme to defraud state and federal officials of at least $230,000 in student financial aid funds, a prosecutor said.

Court documents showed that Kiesha Pope, 48, was the director of financial aid at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College starting in 2006. Pope was involved in a scheme to defraud the U.S. Department of Education, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the college of educational funds from 2011 to 2017, U.S. Attorney Jessica Aber said. News outlets report that Pope pleaded guilty earlier this year to wire fraud.

Pope developed or increased financial aid eligibility for individuals, often her family members, who were not eligible for financial aid, Aber said. From there, Pope directed at least four co-conspirators to send her the majority of the funds, which she spent on personal expenses, including a vacation on Disney Cruise Line.

ADVERTISEMENT

School leaders confronted Pope in October 2017 about her relationship with various academically ineligible students that the college had realized were receiving high amounts of financial aid, according to a news release. Pope claimed not to know the students, who were in fact her son, goddaughter and cousin. Pressed for supporting documentation to justify Pope’s financial aid structuring, Pope resigned, Aber said.