The Department of Education wants you to know they did not send a SWAT team to collect student loans. Rather, it was a group of “special agents” investigating nebulous criminality.
The Education Department came under media fire last week after a California man named Kenneth Wright claimed they sent a SWAT team to collect his estranged wife’s defaulted student loans.
Hoping to set the story straight, a Department spokesman reached out to Death and Taxes to tell us that they do not “own or operate” a SWAT team and do not deploy agents to collect loans. Instead, the Department’s Office of the Inspector General says, they investigate “fraud, bribery, embezzlement, and other criminal activity involving the Department of Education.”
They will not, however, say any more about the Wright case. Nor did they elaborate on these special agents. But we like to imagine that they’re the Rambos of the school yard, dispensing edification and justice like other teachers hand out gold stars.
Here’s the Department’s entire statement:
On June 7, U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General (OIG) special agents executed a search warrant at a Stockton, California residence. The warrant was authorized by a Federal Magistrate Judge.
Reports by the media that the search was related to a defaulted student loan are wrong. The OIG does not engage in the collection of late student loan payments. The OIG conducts criminal investigations of fraud, bribery, embezzlement, and other criminal activity involving the Department of Education.
Before we execute a search warrant, OIG always assesses the risk involved so that we can ensure the safety of the officers involved, the occupants of the property, and the general public. We look at a number of factors, such as the persons known to occupy or frequent the location and whether they have any criminal or violent histories.
The reasons for our search warrant are currently under seal by the court and cannot be discussed publicly. Also, to protect the integrity of the investigatory process and the privacy of any individuals associated with an investigation, OIG does not discuss details of its ongoing criminal investigations.
Additional Information on OIG:
OIG is the law enforcement arm of the Department of Education and is responsible for the detection and prevention of waste, fraud, abuse, and criminal activity involving Department funds, programs, and operations. We conduct independent audits, investigations, inspections, and other reviews. We make recommendations to the Department to address systemic weaknesses and take administrative action. We also make refer criminal matters to the U.S. Department of Justice for prosecution. Our staff includes auditors, financial analysts, information technology professionals, special agents, inspectors, management and budget analysts, and attorneys. OIG operates with full statutory law enforcement authority, which includes conducting search warrants and making arrests. We carry out our activities in accordance with Federal policies and procedures.
For more information on OIG investigative operations, including our statutory law enforcement authority, press releases and summaries of our investigative work, please visit our Web site at: http://www.ed.gov/oig