A University of Maryland financial aid officer has been arrested on charges of presenting forged student loan checks at a local bank, Prince George's County police said yesterday.
Police said that Ben Arthur Robinson Jr., of New Carrollton, allegedly deposited two student financial aid checks that the university had received into a bank account opened under a false name.
Robinson, 29, of 6913 Goodluck Rd., was charged with two counts of passing forged checks, and was released late Tuesday on $5,000 bond from the county detention center in Upper Marlboro.
Robinson, who has worked at College Park since 1978 and earns $17,500 a year, previously served as a financial aid officer for two Texas colleges
He could not be reached for comment.
University officials declined to discuss the case.
Robinson was arrested on Tuesday, police said, after he was traced through a falsified Maryland driver's license with his picture and another man's name on it.
According to police, the fraudulent license was dropped by a man who fled from security guards last Saturday at the Riverdale Citizen's Bank and Trust Co. branch located at 6200 Baltimore Ave.
The man had identified himself as the holder of a savings account that was opened at the bank on May 2. Two students aid checks totaling approximately $5,000 had been deposited in the account. Bank officials learned later that the checks were forgeries.
County Police Detective Edward Schauf said the financial aid checks were mailed to the university from banks where students had arranged the loans. The aid was intended to help cover the cost of the University's tuition.
The names on the checks allegedly were changed, police said, endorsed, and deposited in the savings account. Police believe that at least $16,000 in student laon money has been deposited in local banks and later withdrawn.
Police said they are investigating whether other students who applied for student aid loans and have not received checks within the past three months might be victims of the scheme.
University of Maryland officials said yesterday that approximately 11,000 of the university's 35,000 total student population are receiving a total of $14 million in financial aid.