Midland College employee sentenced for stealing from truck school students

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer | 10/31/2014

A former transportation director for Midland (Texas) College will serve time in jail after pleading guilty to stealing tens of thousands of dollars from students in the school’s truck driver training program.

Michael Daniel Sanchez was sentenced Oct. 29 for wire fraud, after stealing more than $36,000 in tuition money from at least nine students, according to information obtained from the U.S. District Court Western District of Texas.

In addition to his federal prison sentence, Sanchez will be placed on supervised release for three years and must pay $32,800 in restitution to Midland College.

According to the indictment filed in court, Sanchez’s role as transportation director was to manage the four-week training program offered at Midland College. Upon completion of the program, students would then be eligible to take the CDL exam with the state of Texas. The cost of the program was $4,100, payable directly to Midland College.

The indictment states that from October 2012 to November 2013, Sanchez, who was typically the first point of contact for students interested in enrolling in the program, began accepting payments directly from students, instead of having them pay the college cashier. In some instances, Sanchez charged the full $4,100 and never turned the payments over to the college. In others, Sanchez charged lesser amounts, such as $2,000 or $2,500 and kept that amount as well.

In an effort to conceal the fraud, Sanchez would sometimes tell the student that they had been registered, but would never formally enroll the student. Midland College had no knowledge of the students or whether they had paid. In cases where a student was already enrolled, Sanchez would email the college administrator and ask that the particular student be un-enrolled, so that the college would not expect any payment. He also mailed fake receipts to some students and bogus graduation certificates.

According to a report from NewsWest 9, a local West Texas television station, college officials said all nine students were informed of the fraud and reimbursed.

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