Student loans are a billion dollar industry for the government, which basically insures that the system, despite Elizabeth Warren’s eternal pleadings, is unlikely to be reformed. But it seems, on at least a couple of occasions, the student loan process was very lucrative for a couple of individuals at the U.S. Department of Education as well (until they got caught at least).

According to a Freedom of Information Act request obtained by the Daily Mail, breach of conduct reports at the agency reveal identity theft, unlawful access to student loan records and a deficit in basic understanding of civics.

According to the documents – obtained by the Daily Mail Online through a Freedom of Information Act request – a number of government employees set up an illicit scheme to steal students’ information.  

One woman created a bogus Department of Education account to access the National Student Loan Data System to aid her criminal plot.

While accessing the records, she would extract information from individual accounts.  

She swapped around the last four digits of her SSN with those of another during the scheme, and set up the fake identity to apply for credit cards, personal loans and set up a Sprint cell phone account.

An internal investigation within the department found she went into the database 24 times between 2006 and 2009 to retrieve the information. 

Just 24 hours after searching through the database on one occasion in 2009, the documents revealed she applied for a personal loan.

She was finally arrested and charged in 2011 and reportedly served one month in jail after her 18-month sentence was reduced. Another employee was caught trying to find Barack Obama’s student loan records, but made the twin mistakes of spelling Barack Obama’s name “Barrack,” which belies that lack of civics knowledge I spoke of before, and failing to realize that most of Barack Obama’s financial information — at least regarding his student loan payment plan — is public knowledge (he claims to have paid off his loans after 25 years, using the royalties from his book). A third employee used downtime at the DOE to promote his side projects. And yet another employee used his downtime to improve his collection of child pornography. The latter was arrested and convicted in 2011, as well, and is serving a 10-year prison sentence.

The good news is, the FCC has now approved “net neutrality,” so the same people who are in charge of administering your student loans may now also find themselves in charge of administering your Internet, which should certainly make it a reliable utility, to be exploited by no one.

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