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Jan 13, 4:03 PM EST

Woman gets 2 years for using inmate info for student loans


DENVER (AP) -- A federal judge in Denver has sentenced a woman to two years in prison for her role in using the credit histories of 181 unsuspecting prison inmates to get $582,000 in federal student loans.

The Denver Post reports that 28-year-old Mercedes Diaz was sentenced Friday by U.S. District judge William Martinez.

Diaz and three others have been convicted of using the identities of inmates in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Illinois and Ohio to apply for $1.3 million in federal student loans.

The loans ostensibly were to be used for community college study in Colorado and Arizona.

The U.S. Education Department approved $582,000 in loans.

The judge says the defendants' actions will make it harder for the inmates to get jobs and reform their lives when they are released from prison.

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