Diplomatic Security and U.S. Department of Education Investigate
A Chicago man was indicted July 7 by a federal grand jury for a more-than-$125,000 federal student loan mail fraud scheme and for violating federal identity theft and passport fraud statutes. The defendant, John Orville Jones, also known as John Woodard, has been in federal custody since April 6, when he was arrested by Diplomatic Security special agents in Chicago.
A criminal complaint filed prior to the defendant’s arrest alleges that Jones submitted passport applications with at least three different identities. The nine-count indictment further alleges that Jones used various aliases to apply for federal student financial aid to fraudulently obtain over $125,000 in loan refunds to which he was not entitled.
Diplomatic Security was assisted in this investigation by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General, the Chicago Police Department, and the Cook County Sheriff's Police Department.
“The Diplomatic Security Service is firmly committed to working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and other law enforcement partners to investigate and bring to justice those who commit passport fraud and identity theft,” said Joseph P. Hooten, Special Agent in Charge of the Diplomatic Security Chicago Field Office. “We appreciate our partnership with the Department of Education’s Inspector General and the assistance from Chicago Police and Cook County Sheriff's Police. This is a good example of effective collaboration among law enforcement authorities.”
“Today’s indictment alleges that the defendant bilked America’s taxpayers out of more than $125,000 by using the identities of others to fraudulently apply for and receive federal student aid,” said Kathleen S. Tighe, Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General. "Together with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to aggressively pursue those who misappropriate federal education funds.”
If convicted, Jones faces a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison and an asset forfeiture/money judgment in excess of $125,000 for the total amount he defrauded from the federal government. The Court will determine the appropriate sentence to be imposed using the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines. The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Sterling.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only allegations and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which time the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Bureau of Diplomatic Security is the U.S. Department of State's law enforcement and security arm. The special agents, engineers, and security professionals of the Bureau are responsible for the security of 285 U.S. diplomatic missions around the world. In the United States, Diplomatic Security personnel protect the U.S. Secretary of State and high-ranking foreign dignitaries and officials visiting the United States, investigate passport and visa fraud, and conduct personnel security investigations. More information about the U.S. Department of State and the Bureau of Diplomatic Security may be obtained at www.state.gov/m/ds.
Diplomatic Security Public Affairs