Durham woman pleads guilty to false financial-aid statements

Jasmine Crossland of Durham has pleaded guilty in federal court to making false statements on student financial-aid applications.

Crossland’s plea was made last week, according to a statement issued Thursday by the U.S. Department of Justice. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 17. She faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and payment of full restitution.

The statement identifies Crossland as a teacher’s assistant with Durham Public Schools. DPS spokeswoman Marcia Pearson said Crossland had been suspended without pay before the plea was entered.

According to the federal statement, Crossland was awarded $67,405 in federal education grants or loans and $54,388 in tuition grants from the District of Columbia to pay her costs of attending N.C. Central University between 2008 and 2012. On her applications, she falsely claimed that her mother, Donnica Crossland, was unemployed.

Donnica Crossland, who was actually employed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, pleaded guilty on Sept. 18 in a Richmond, Va., court to making false statements supporting the applications of Jasmine Crossland and those of another daughter who was attending college in Virginia.

Together, the Crosslands fraudulently obtained almost $235,000 from the U.S. Department of Education and the District of Columbia. From staff reports

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