A woman was sentenced to two years in prison for her role in using the identifications of 181 prison inmates to take out $582,000 in federal student loans.

Mercedes Diaz, 28, was one of four people who have been convicted in a conspiracy that targeted inmates serving lengthy prison terms in Colorado, Arizona, Ohio, Florida and Illinois.

“They took advantage of 181 individuals who had no way of monitoring their credit reports when they are in a prison cell,” Denver U.S. District Judge William Martinez said before sentencing Diaz Friday afternoon. He added that it will now be that much harder for them to get jobs and reform their lives once they are released from prison.

Diaz, wearing gray slacks and a black, long-sleeved blouse, told the judge her perspective about life changed dramatically while she was out on bond, got pregnant, moved into her fiance’s home and became a stepmom to his three children.

“Before I knew I would be a mother, I didn’t care whether I lived or died,” Diaz said. She added that she used the stolen student loan money to buy drugs.

She said her love and concern for her infant daughter and three stepchildren gave her purpose, and she …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Business

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