The Office of State Attorney Glenn Hess announces that on May 2, 2019, Circuit Judge Christopher Patterson found Forrest Ames guilty as charged of engaging in an Organized Scheme to Defraud.
Evidence presented at the bench trial proved that the Defendant engaged in a scheme to defraud Gulf Coast State College of out fees and tuition through a Florida Homeless Exemption. Under Florida Statute, a student who qualifies as “homeless,” is exempt from the payment of tuition and fees. The State was able to show that Ames fraudulently claimed the Homeless Exemption for the 2018 Spring and Summer academic semesters by engaging a course of conduct that included falsifying documents, withdrawing from courses, and paying rent under a lease at Bay Front Apartments. The case was prosecuted by Assistant State Attorney Lawrence Gill, and was investigated by the Bay County Sheriff’s Office.
Ames was sentenced to twenty-four (24) months in the Florida Department of Corrections, which is suspended on the successful competition of thirty-six (36) months of felony probation. Ames was ordered not to have any contact with the victims.
For additional information, contact Chief Assistant State Attorney Larry Basford.