SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — A grand jury has indicted two former Louisiana College students as part of a scheme to steal money from other students, federal prosecutors said.
Hayden Philip Breaux, 21, of Houma, and D’Quincy Marquis Jones, 23, of Baton Rouge, were charged with one count of conspiracy to commit identity theft and five counts of identity theft, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Louisiana said in a news release Thursday.
The indictment alleges that Breaux and Jones illegally obtained emergency financial aid grants offered to colleges as part of the CARES Act passed by Congress last year for relief amid the pandemic. Louisiana College, a private Baptist college in Pineville, was among the schools given that emergency funding for its students.
Between June 5 and June 20, Breaux and Jones conspired to fraudulently obtain CARES Act funds for their own use, the indictment alleged. It said that Breaux, Jones and others used Louisiana College student identification numbers and passwords of nine students to access the college's online student portal. Once there, they applied for CARES Act emergency grants in the names of those students and directed the grants to specific bank accounts “controlled by members of the conspiracy,” prosecutors said.
A Louisiana College spokesperson confirmed the school alerted law enforcement officials about the possible theft.
“Since the April 2020 issuance of federal funding for the COVID-19 pandemic, Louisiana College has followed the U.S. Department of Education requirements for awarding and distributing emergency grants to students. In June 2020, LC accounting personnel discovered possible instances of fraudulent activity by grant recipients and immediately informed appropriate law enforcement officials," the school said in a statement.
Neither Breaux nor Jones is a current Louisiana College student, the school said. The men were members of the Louisiana College football team in 2019.