Education Law

Aim of SWAT-Like Raid Was Student-Aid Fraud; Education Dept. Given Police Powers in 2002

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A California man who says agents of the U.S. Department of Education broke down his door has a lawyer and a copy of the search warrant detailing the reason for the raid—a search for financial-aid fraud.

Kenneth Wright originally told News10/KXTV that a SWAT team broke down his door in a search for evidence of his estranged wife’s defaulted student loans. The Stockton man said he was in boxer shorts when officers broke down his door, hauled him out to his front lawn, put him in handcuffs and forced his three children to sit in a squad car for hours.

After retaining a lawyer, Wright released a copy of the search warrant (PDF) that verifies the search but differs on the reason, according to News10 and Fox News. The agents were looking for financial aid applications, tax and wage records, and college attendance records in a probe focusing on student financial-aid fraud.

The agents worked for the Education Department’s Office of Inspector General and were not a SWAT team. But a neighbor confirmed other details of the raid on Wright’s home. “They surrounded the house; it was like a task force or SWAT team,” the neighbor told News10. “They all had guns. They dragged him out in his boxer shorts, threw him to the ground and handcuffed him.”

The Education Department is one of more than two dozen federal agencies that were granted full police power to carry out raids under the Homeland Security Act, reports. Other agencies with such powers include the Department of Labor, the Export-Import Bank of the United States and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

The Education Department purchased 27 Remington 12-gauge shotguns last year, saying they were needed to police waste, fraud and abuse involving federal education funds, the Washington Post reports at BlogPost.

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