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Woman who helped use inmates’ names to get $582,000 in federal student loans sent to prison

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.

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