April 11 2007
George â€œJoshâ€ Michaels, 22, of Bloomington, Ill., turned himself into authorities today following a warrant being issued Tuesday for his arrest on a felony charge of theft. Michaels, who graduated from ISU in December 2006, allegedly falsified information to illegally obtain institutional scholarships for himself and others. He was released on his own recognizance following a court appearance this afternoon. He is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing on May 17 with a trial date of June 7.
Jared McCord, 20, a sophomore from Greensburg, also has been charged with theft in the case. The initial arrests of Alan Green of Frankfort, 21, and Reece Rhea of Eminence, 22, occurred April 4. Both are juniors at Indiana State. McCord, Green and Rhea were released on their own recognizance following their initial appearances in court.
Green, Rhea and McCord told police that Michaels had approached each of them individually and offered to obtain scholarship money for them. The three indicated they had provided Michaels with personal identification information, including their student identification numbers. Once the scholarships were awarded, the students indicated that they gave half of the money to Michaels. It is estimated that Green received at least $9,000, Rhea at least $3,000, McCord $4,400 and Michaels, $20,000.
Michaels worked as a student employee for the Office of Information Technology and was assigned to work on computers in the Office of Financial Aid on at least two occasions. The investigation into how he was able to enter documents into his and other studentsâ€™ accounts is continuing. Officials indicated that the situation was unique in that the suspect had to have a high degree of knowledge about financial aid as well as a background in information technology.
â€œUniversity officials are continuing to investigate the situation. However, at this point in time, there is no evidence to indicate that the situation extended beyond the three students whom Michaels approached beforehand and Michaels himself,â€ said Bill Mercier, director of Public Safety.
The situation was discovered by an Indiana State University employee on March 27.
Contact:Teresa Exline, university spokesperson, (812) 237-7783 or firstname.lastname@example.org
ISU police have arrested two additional individuals in a case involving falsification of financial aid documents.