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4 indicted in student aid scheme that used inmates

Federal prosecutors say they have broken up a ring of women who used the names of Perryville prison inmates to fraudulently get federal student financial aid.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Phoenix says three of the women are from Glendale and were arrested on May 2 while the fourth remains a prisoner at Perryville.

Two of the women were charged with dozens of counts of conspiracy, wire fraud, identity theft and theft of public funds.

The indictment says the plan’s architect and ringleader was 32-year-old Elizabeth Meza. Meza allegedly devised the scheme to fill out federal student financial applications and apply for online classes at Rio Salado College in Tempe.

More than $150,000 in loans and grants were approved and about $71,000 was sent to the women or school.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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