- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 20, 2015

LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) - A Lynchburg woman has pleaded guilty to several federal fraud charges in a scheme to defraud a student loan program and insurance companies.

The News & Advance reports (https://bit.ly/1LkVSkw) 43-year-old Melinda Smith pleaded guilty Tuesday in a U.S. District Court to one count each of wire fraud, aggravated identify theft, student loan fraud and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.

As part of the plea agreement, federal prosecutors dismissed three dozen fraud charges against her.

According to the indictment,Smith and two other women, Catherine Pankey and Vernetta Johnson, submitted fraudulent federal student aid applications for Liberty University online classes. Pankey and Johnson are set for trial June 4.

A judge found Smith guilty on the four charges in accordance with the plea agreement. Her sentencing is set for August 7.

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Information from: The News & Advance, https://www.newsadvance.com/

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