Campus Life / Education

3 Lynchburg women charged with student loan fraud



ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — Three Lynchburg women are charged with submitting fraudulent student aid applications for Liberty University online classes.

The indictment was unsealed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Roanoke. It charges 42-year-old Melinda Smith, 61-year-old Catherine Pankey and 40-year-old Vernetta Johnson with multiple counts of student loan fraud and other charges.

The women are accused of obtaining student aid money they were not entitled to receive. Smith and Johnson also are accused of filing bogus car insurance claims, and Smith and Pankey are charged with falsifying papers to obtain rental reimbursement after a house fire.

Attorneys for Johnson and Pankey did not immediately return phone messages seeking comment Wednesday. Court records to not list an attorney for Smith.


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