The Criminal Side Hustle and the Security Clearance


A Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) employee led a significant criminal side hustle, stealing millions in federal student loans by using dozens of student to collect loan payments to pursue degrees they never intended to receive over the course of 15 years.

The 42-year-old DoD employee, Randolph Stanley, was charged June 1 with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The charges allege that more than $6.2 million in funds were sent to students – funds that actually went to Stanley. In some cases, the students were complicit, allowing Stanley to use their identities and pocket the funds. In other instances, student identities were stolen. The criminal complaint notes Stanley used ghostwriters located in Africa to complete assignments on behalf of the “fake” students.

Criminal Side Hustle and a Security Clearance

The criminal complaint doesn’t indicate if Stanley had a security clearance, but given his role, it’s highly likely he was at least in a position of public trust. The complaint does note that Stanley previously held a position in a student loan office of an area university, which means he likely developed his plan for defrauding the government based on his insider position working in the office – he saw the opportunity, the possibility, and took full advantage. Thanks to his network and knowledge, Stanley was able to perpetuate his student loan schemes while keeping a day job with DCAA (clearly, the man has both high organizational skills and management potential!)

Prior to working at DCAA, Stanley worked for two different universities in their student loan offices. Over the course of four years, Stanley advised students and faculty on the student loan process. He clearly developed an insider’s perspective on how the process could be compromised, and used that knowledge to perpetuate his fraud, which spanned past a decade. Throughout the duration of the time he was allegedly defrauding the government and stealing student loan funds, he was also successfully holding down a day job with DCAA.

It’s unclear if Stanley was the guy no one ever expected, or the employee who suddenly showed up at work with a Porsche. But the scheme emphasizes why unexplained affluence is a reportable security clearance concern. Stanley clearly showed a willingness to profit from knowledge obtained on the job. It’s not clear if he was working any side hustles around his DCAA mission, but his role working in and around the defense contracting system indicates he would have had some insider information that may have been profitable for outside contractors, organizations – or even foreign countries – to obtain.

When it comes to access to classified information, reliability and trustworthiness matter. It matters because if you’re willing to work a criminal side hustle, you’re likely willing to compromise classified information, as well.




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