3rd ex-Iowa education contractor employee pleads guilty to looking at Obama student loan info

Monday, July 19, 2010

3rd pleads guilty in Obama student loan case

DES MOINES, Iowa — A third former employee of a U.S Department of Education contractor has pleaded guilty to illegally accessing President Barack Obama’s student loan records.

Patrick Roan, 51, of Iowa City, pleaded guilty in federal court July 13 to one count of fraud activity connected with computers, a misdemeanor. He faces up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine when he is sentenced Oct. 12.

Roan’s attorney, Rockne Cole, said Roan looked at Obama’s student loan records once and had “no malicious intent at all” in doing so.

“It was basically very similar to what you do with a Google search, but obviously under these circumstances it was not appropriate,” Cole said.

He said Roan, like others who have pleaded guilty, viewed the records during down time at work.

Roan was one of nine Vangent Inc. employees accused of accessing Obama’s student loan records. Two others pleaded guilty last month to a charge of exceeding authorized computer access and face up to a year in prison and $100,000 fine at their Sept. 24 sentencing.

The other six former employees have pleaded not guilty and are scheduled to stand trial in August and September.

Prosecutors say the nine accessed Obama’s records on a computer at the company’s Coralville office between July 2007 and March 2009.

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