Gangelhoff indicted on felony fraud charge

Todd Milbourn

Former University tutor Jan Gangelhoff was charged in U.S. District Court on Friday with a felony count of misappropriating federal financial aid grants.
The charge alleges Gangelhoff enabled a former men’s basketball player to collect federal Pell Grant monies by fraudulently preparing and submitting course work for him in 1995.
The player, though unnamed in the charge, is thought to be Sacramento Kings guard Bobby Jackson, a star on the Gophers 1997 Final Four team.
Kevin Short, Jackson’s attorney, could not be reached for comment but said last week that his client has been interviewed by federal investigators.
A federal grand jury subpoenaed University records regarding Jackson’s course work in April.
Jim Lord, Gangelhoff’s attorney, would not comment on the case, including whether the charge signals a plea agreement with prosecutors.
Gangelhoff is expected to plead guilty and cooperate with investigators by testifying against former coach Clem Haskins and former academic counselor Alonzo Newby, the apparent targets of a grand jury investigation into wire and mail fraud.
Rather than indicting Gangelhoff, prosecutors filed what is called an information.
An information essentially serves the same function as an indictment; however, it is usually served when a defendant is working with prosecutors to obtain indictments of higher-up officials, said Andy Birrell, a Minneapolis attorney.
The information alleges Gangelhoff operated “in concert with others” and “knowingly and willfully” committed fraud to ensure a player’s eligibility for Pell Grant funds during the 1995-96 school year.
Pell Grants are federally financed awards dispersed by the University to students based on need. Unlike loans, they do not have to be repaid.
Prosecutors allege Gangelhoff violated the federal financial aid fraud statute. If found guilty, she could receive a fine of up to $20,000, a prison term of five years or both.
However, a harsh sentence is unlikely if a plea agreement has been arranged. Further, Gangelhoff has no prior criminal record.
The case is being handled by the criminal division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. John Russell, a department spokesman, declined to comment on any aspect of the case.
This week, U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson is expected to set a date for Gangelhoff to make her first court appearance.
Gangelhoff blew the whistle on academic fraud in the men’s basketball program in March 1999 when she told the St. Paul Pioneer Press she wrote more than 400 papers for at least 18 players between 1993 and 1998.
The revelation sparked investigations by the University, the NCAA and federal officials from the FBI and U.S. Postal Service.

Todd Milbourn welcomes comments at [email protected] He can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3234.