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Father admits to falsifying financial aid data

The father of a former Harvard University student has pleaded guilty in federal court to falsifying his income so his daughter could be awarded more than $160,000 in financial aid from the prestigious college and the federal government.

Joseph N. Fonge appeared Tuesday in US District Court in Boston and pleaded guilty before Judge William G. Young to three counts of wire fraud, according to US Attorney Carmen Ortiz's office. Sentencing is set for March 4.

Fonge filed fraudulent federal income tax returns that became part of the College Scholarship Service profile and Free Application for Federal Student Aid that were used to assess his daughter's financial need.


The daughter, who has since graduated, was identified only by the initials K.F. in a criminal information filed in court.

The false documents were filed in support of applications for financial aid from Harvard for the 2010-2011, 2011-2012, and 2012-2013 school years. The daughter was awarded $160,622 in direct aid from Harvard and federal financial aid, according to court records.

Harvard detected the fraud during its review of records for the 2012-2013 academic year and canceled the $55,450 in aid the school had promised to provide that year.

Prosecutors said Fonge used the same false information to garner another $46,600 in aid for his second daughter when she was a student at the University of Rochester in 2010, prosecutors said.

Fonge faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.

John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe .com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.