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Elmsford Woman Charged in $10.5M Disability Loan Fraud Scheme
An Elmsford woman was charged last week with orchestrating a $10.5 million loan fraud scheme that included stealing physician identities and falsifying disabilities while working as a nurse practitioner.
A criminal complaint against Catherine Seemer, 42, was unsealed Friday by Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, charging her with wire fraud, federal financial aid fraud and aggravated identity theft. If convicted, Seemer could face up to years in prison.
Williams alleged Seemer stole the identities of more than a dozen medical doctors and falsified the disabilities of more than 100 borrowers to earn approximately $1 million from the scheme.
“The Total and Permanent Disability Discharge Program is designed to help ease the financial burden of those who suffer from permanent physical or mental disabilities, including military veterans who endure service-related disabilities, by relieving them of their student loan obligations,” Williams stated. “As alleged, the defendant defrauded this program for her own benefit.”
According to Williams, from June 2017 through March 2022, Seemer orchestrated a scheme to cause the fraudulent discharge of millions of dollars worth of student loans for borrowers who did not qualify for relief under the federal Total and Permanent Disability Discharge Program and its private analog. As part of the scheme, Seemer deceived borrowers into believing they qualified for various forms of student loan relief and charged them fees—often between 10% and 20% of the loan amount—to facilitate their loan discharge process.
She then allegedly used the personal identifying information of the unsuspecting borrowers to submit fraudulent applications for student loan discharge on the basis of non-existent permanent physical and mental disabilities. In support of these applications, Seemer used the stolen identities, medical license numbers, and forged signatures of medical doctors to falsify medical diagnoses and disability certifications. The scheme resulted in the wrongful discharge of approximately $10.5 million in loans under the disability-based relief programs.
Terry Harris, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Eastern Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General, said, “Tracking down those who cheat the federal student aid programs is a priority of our office. The OIG is committed to fighting student aid fraud in all its forms and we will continue to pursue anyone who participates in these types of crimes.”
Rick has more than 40 years’ experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, running the gamut from politics and crime to sports and human interest. He has been an editor at Examiner Media since 2012. Read more from Rick’s editor-author bio here. Read Rick’s work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/pezzullo_rick-writer/