Carla Ann Brennan Pleads Guilty to $262k Student-Loan Scam, Gets 7 Years in Joint
The 63-year-old Laguna Hills divorcee is used to court-ordered payback orders, having used $88,000 from the $262,000 she stole not for plastic surgery (obviously) but to begin funding restitution from a 2008 tax-fraud case.
Two years earlier, she and then-husband Anthony Brennan were charged with filing false tax returns and making false financial statements. While the case was still being investigated, the couple paid $100,000 to the California Franchise Tax Board of the $188,000 they owed in unpaid taxes and penalties. They also divorced. On July 31, 2008, they pleaded guilty to the charges against them and were given probation and ordered to perform community service and repay the remaining restitution.
But, before the guilty pleas, Brennan launched her scam where she "helped" five students, ages 17 to 23, that she met through her children obtain college loans.
|Courtesy of Orange County District Attorney's Office|
|Would you hand your personal information over to this woman?|
The students got checks in the mail ranging from between $19,000 and $30,000, some of which bore the names of the students and others of the co-signers. Brennan then met each student at a Mission Viejo bank, having them sign checks in the teller's presence and then having the teller cash the checks or issue a cashiers check. Brennan gave each student $1,000 to $2,000 and kept the rest--$262,000 in all.
Months later, the students received notices to repay their loans. When they contacted Brennan, she told them not to worry, that she was taking care of it. She didn't and all the loans ultimately went into default under the names of the students and the co-signers.
Brennan's scheme was un-done when one student stopped calling her and contacted the Orange County Sheriff's Department instead.
She pleaded guilty today to five felony counts of grand theft, five felony counts of money laundering, two felony counts of identity theft, one felony count of filing a false tax return, and sentencing enhancements and allegations for aggravated white collar crime over $100,000, loss over $100,000, and crime-bail-crime. The enhancement for crime-bail-crime indicates that Brennan was out of custody on bail in another criminal case at the time of the crime.