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When filling out a government form, such as a fafsa, what constitutes fraud where criminal charges are filed?

Hattiesburg, MS |

I used information provided by my parents to apply for financial aid. I did exactly what they told me to do because my parents are secretive over their business practices as well as their relationship. At the time, I did not think anything about it, but now I have reason to believe that I put down some false information that affected my family contribution. I am not enrolled in the school now and I was never audited. I am willing to pay back money if I have to, even though the tuition took the fafsa money and more, but I did not set out to defraud or lie to anyone. I would like to know if I could be criminally liable for unknowingly using the information. Also, I honestly had no choice because I was a dependent and I could not file alone or skip college.

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Attorney answers 1


As I recall the warning it uses words to the effect if the student " purposfully" gives false or misleading information. You did not do so on purpose because it was only after the fact that you came to realize your parents were shading the truth a bit.

DO not worry about it--move on. If you ARE contacted by the US DOE or the US Treasury regarding discrepancies in your FAFSA, see an attorney before you respond to them. That said, it sound like you have NOTHING to worry about. Have a great life!

NOT LEGAL ADVICE. FOR EDUCATION AND INFORMATION ONLY. Mr. Rafter is licensed to practice before the state and federal courts in Virginia. There is no implied or actual attorney-client relationship arising from this education exchange. You should speak with an attorney licensed in your state, to whom you have provided all the facts before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. Mr. Rafter is under no obligation to answer subsequent emails or phone calls related to this matter.