Man pleads guilty to financial aid fraud in Sacramento

A Sacramento man has pleaded guilty to recruiting students for financial aid fraud.

Michael J. Huddleston, 44, of Sacramento pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to conspiracy to commit financial aid fraud.

Huddleston and Brent W. Wilder, 44, obtained Federal Student Assistant funds by recruiting 50 so-called “straw” students to apply for aid, resulting in $200,000 in fraudulent disbursement of aid, according to a plea agreement.

The two men prepared and submitted student admission and loan applications on behalf of the people that they recruited to apply for FSA at American River College, Sacramento City College and Cosumnes River College, knowing that many of them were not eligible for funds.

Wilder and Huddleston kept half of the FSA funds and gave the other half to the straw students, according to a U.S. Attorney press release.

Most students who were signed up withdrew from classes shortly after getting the funds or received failing grades. Others attended class.

Wilder pleaded guilty to the conspiracy in October. Both men will be sentenced next year.