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Hyde Park woman allegedly stole thousands of federal financial aid dollars from students

A woman from Hyde Park will be charged with stealing more than $62,000 in student financial aid when she worked at a career training school in Brockton, the US attorney’s ­office said Friday.

Ayana Bean, 38, worked as a financial aid adviser at Sullivan and Cogliano Training Centers, according to a statement from the office of US Attorney ­Carmen M. Ortiz. The for-profit school offers certificate programs in subjects including medical office work and information technology.

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School officials could not be reached for comment Friday.

Bean came under investigation last August when a student contacted the training center to ask about her federal financial aid refund check, according to an affidavit filed by a US Depart­ment of Education inves­tigator as part of the criminal complaint against Bean.

When a student is awarded financial aid, the money goes to the school. If the cost of tuition and fees is less than the financial aid award, the unspent money can be paid directly to the student in the form of a ­refund check.

As a financial aid advisor, Bean had access to those refund checks.

The investigator wrote in her affidavit that the school traced the student’s missing check to Bean, learning that she had allegedly endorsed her name as well as the student’s on the payment. When a training center official investigated further, he found that Bean had ­allegedly mishandled dozens of refund checks, depositing them into her own account or the ­accounts of family members, including her mother, sister, and son.

The offenses occurred between June 2011 and August 2012, according to the US attorney’s office.

Bean faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release on the federal charges of theft or bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, Ortiz’s office said.

Bean could not be located for comment Friday, and her mother and sister could not be reached.

Several years ago, Bean was charged in Suffolk Superior Court with similar crimes. She was convicted of larceny and utter­ing false and forged records for stealing nearly $240,000 in federal financial aid refund checks. A spokesman for the Suffolk district ­attorney’s office said the schools in that case were Emerson College and Berklee College of Music. Bean served six months of a two-year sentence and was on probation for three years after that case, the US ­attorney’s office said.

Zachary T. Sampson can be reached at zachary.sampson@
globe.com
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