How the Department of Education Creates Documents by Mixing and Matching PDF Files

Below is a copy of another letter and FOIA request sent to Department of Education FOIA Service Center. This letter describes how the Department of Education employees create documents from PDF files without existence of the original documents. In the process the Department of Education employees mix PDF files that could belong to anybody and do not contain any person's identifying information, together with PDF files that do contain identifying information.

Because verifiable original documents do not exist, obviously the process is fraudulent. Yet, the Department of Education administration allows this to continue for the sake of financial and professional gain of the Department of Education employees and business partners.

Further, Department of Education FOIA Service Center avoids sending a response to FOIA request, so that they would send the requested documents or state that the documents do not exist. The reason is simple: admitting that the requested documents do not exist also mean admitting that the Department of Education cannot validate the demands that this institution has made for years. This means that the Department of Education has been using abuse of power, involuntary servitude, harassment and bullying in order to support its extortion attempts and is liable for these actions.

However, in the process of refusing to honor the FOIA requests, the Department of Education representatives are committing mail fraud and honest service fraud. They can go on an on with this, because who would keep them accountable? While the Department of Education business partners are subject to laws and regulations, at the Department of Education the employees seem to believe that they are above the law and can do anything they want.

The Department of Education FOIA Service Center received the letter published below a month ago. So far I have not received a tracking number or any other response, demonstrating that the FOIA Service Center acknowledges receipt of the letter.

So, I will have to contact members of the House of Representatives and other institutions about the fraudulent document creating, failure to respond to FOIA request and other problems that are related to this case. Continuation of this dispute is a waste of time and other resources, but people at the Department of Education do not seem to care. After all, the Department of Education employees who handle this case get paid in one way or another. So, the case goes on an on.

  • The letter published below was delivered to Department of Education FOIA Service Center, USPS Delivery Confirmation EE226316590US

ATTN: FOIA Service Center

Arthur Caliguiran

U.S. Department of Education

400 Maryland Avenue SW

Washington, DC 20202

Dear Arthur Caliguiran,

This is a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 USC 552, as amended, and the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 USC 552a, as amended.

Please note that that filled in and signed Certificate of Identity and Consent form is included with this FOIA request.

Further, please note that this is an open letter that I will publish on StopExtortion.org and may publish on other websites as well.

Thank you for your response dated September 6, 2018. In your response you stated that responses to my FOIA requests have already been provided. This is incorrect. As you very well know, I requested copies of documents that demonstrate that the alleged lending and borrowing transactions actually took place while I was a student and that I received the allegedly borrowed money either directly, or indirectly as tuition support while I was a student from 1990-1996. Neither you nor anybody else from the Department of Education has never provided such validation.

Mr. Caliguiran, apparently you were aware that your response was less than truthful. So, I received another response from you, dated September 18, 2018. This response did not contain any documents that I had specified in my FOIA request. However, this response contained documents that had been made in the following way:

  • An employee takes a PDF file that contains a copy of one page of a previously filled in financial aid application and prints it on a sheet of paper.
  • An employee prints another document that originally was another PDF file on the other side of the same sheet of paper. There are no unique identifiers, any person's name or anything else whatsoever on the document that came from the second PDF file that relates it to the first PDF file. Thus, the second PDF file could be a partial copy of any person’s document.
  • Such copies are made from files that originally were individual PDF files that later were merged together. Further, based on the available information the Department of Education employees are using the PDF files without existence of the original documents. Thus, no verifiable proof exists that copies of documents on the PDF files actually belong to the same person.
  • The resulting two-sided (duplex) copies made from files that originally were separate PDF files, are sent to me as copies of the original documents, even though absolutely nothing on some of the copied PDF files relates these copies to me.
  • That is, the Department of Education employees create documents by mixing copies of documents that do identify a specific individual together with copies that could belong to anybody, without existence of the original documents, and send the documents that they created out as copies of the original documents, without proof that all the documents created by the Department of Education employees actually belong to the same person.

Mr. Caliguiran, perhaps you and the Department of Education employee who created these documents this way did not realize that you were engaging in fraud. If you are unsure about whether or not your actions were fraudulent I advise you to contact the Department of Education's legal advisors.

Of course, technically it is possible to merge separate PDF files together into one PDF file, but that does not change the point that without verifiable existence of the original documents, merging together a copy that does contain personal identification information with a copy that does not contain any unique identifiers, person's name or anything else whatsoever that reliably relates it to specific person and document, does not form one legitimate document simply because two copies were put on the opposite sides of the same sheet of paper or have been merged into one PDF file. The same applies to stapling documents together or simply placing them next to each other.

Similarly, without verifiable existence of the original documents PDF files that contain images of documents that do not contain any unique identifiers, person's name or anything else whatsoever that relates the document to a specific person cannot be used as validation of transactions that involve a specific person.

That is, without verifiable existence of the original documents you cannot legitimately take a copy of one document that identifies a person and a copy of another document that does not contain any identifications, merge them together and then claim that they are now parts of the same document. This applies, whether you handle PDF files or simply paper copies. Creating documents this way from copies without verifiable existence of the original documents is fraudulent.

Further, Mr. Caliguiran, I asked for records that were created before I graduated, that is, while I was in college. You sent me snapshots of computer records that were created after I graduated from college. This, too, is fraudulent.

Below is another FOIA request. I am hoping that you will ensure that the Department of Education FOIA Unit will send me information that is responsive to all 4 (four) items as requested. Doing so can help to move this case forward. Indifference and fraudulent actions can prolong this case, but will not benefit the Department of Education.

Further Communication

I am thereby instructing you and other Department of Education representatives and business partners not to contact me by phone. Any communication with me must be handled by mail.

Until this case is resolved, I need to keep records of the relevant correspondence, so that we can avoid “he said, she said” type of ambiguities. The latter can easily be the outcome in a situation where parties with differing views are trying to resolve complex problems through phone conversations. We have enough misrepresentations regarding this case already. We do not need any more of it.

I am not able to record phone calls. Therefore, I can correspond in writing only, via regular mail.

Freedom of Information (FOIA) Request

This is a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 USC 552, as amended, and the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 USC 552a, as amended.

Please process the Freedom of Information Act request listed below and furnish copies of the following documents:

  • (ITEM 1) We need validation that Fleet National Bank submitted one or more requests for reimbursement and that actual payments were made to Fleet National Bank for all the alleged loans that are related to this case. So far only guaranty agency created documents have been presented. However, these documents may have been produced fraudulently at a later date, similarly to the way Notice of Loan Guarantee and Disclosure Statements were produced in 2012 and Indemnification Agreements were produced that suddenly surfaced in 2015 but were backdated to 2007. Further, the documents that guaranty agency produced do not in any way validate that Fleet National Bank actually submitted any claims and that any claims were actually paid to Fleet National Bank for all the alleged loans that are related to this case.
  • For the sake of clarity I will state that the Department of Education has never provided validation that Fleet National Bank submitted a request for reimbursement and actual payments were made to Fleet National Bank for all the alleged loans that are related to this case. The Department of Education may have reimbursed the guaranty agency, but that does not in any way validate that the guaranty agency actually made any payments to Fleet National Bank. The Department of Education reimbursing the guaranty agency does not in any way grant the Department of Education the rights to make monetary demands from me if no evidence exists that Fleet National Bank actually submitted claims to guaranty agency and guaranty agency actually paid claims for all the alleged loans that are related to this case.
  • Given, that the requested documents do not exist, the Department of Education must explicitly state that the requested documents do not exist.

The claim reimbursement documents requested above, that Fleet National Bank would have submitted, would have been created after I graduated from college in 1996.

The rest of the requested documents requested below would have been created before I graduated from college in 1996.

An important aspect is that if I received any bank loans as a student, then that must have taken place before I graduated from college in 1996. Thus, the Department of Education should not send me documents and computer records that were generated by third parties after I graduated in 1996 as “proof” on bank loan lending and borrowing transactions that allegedly took place before I graduated in 1996.

Similarly, if the Department of Education claims that I borrowed money from Fleet National Bank, a commercial entity, as student loans when I attended Rhode Island College 1990-1996 and that the Department of Education holds relevant legally binding promissory notes, then the Department of Education must furnish copies of the actual legally binding promissory notes that meet the Uniform Commercial Code requirements. Sending out financial aid applications in lieu of actual legally binding promissory notes that meet the Uniform Commercial Code requirements is fraud.

  • (ITEM 2) We need signed copies of alleged student loan lending and borrowing documents that validate that the underlying alleged lending and borrowing transactions actually took place while I was a student from 1990-1996.
  • For the sake of clarity I will state that the Department of Education has never provided validation that the alleged lending and borrowing transactions actually took place while I was a student 1990-1996. The Department of Education has only validated that the Department has created internal records after I graduated from college. We need the Department of Education to validate the original transactions which would have taken place before I graduated, not the records that were created after I graduated.
  • Given, that the requested documents do not exist, the Department of Education must explicitly state that the requested documents do not exist.
  • (ITEM 3) We need copies of signed loan disbursement documents that validate that I actually received the allegedly borrowed money either directly, or indirectly as tuition support while I was a student from 1990-1996.
  • For the sake of clarity I will state that the Department of Education has never provided validation that I actually received the allegedly borrowed money either directly, or indirectly as tuition support while I was a student 1990-1996. The Department of Education has only validated that the Department has created internal records after I graduated from college. We need the Department of Education to validate the original transactions which would have taken place before I graduated, not the records that were created after I graduated.
  • Given, that the requested documents do not exist, the Department of Education must explicitly state that the requested documents do not exist.
  • (ITEM 4) We need copies of signed original documents that meet Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) requirements for legally binding promissory notes and were produced while I was a student from 1990-1996.
  • For the sake of clarity I will state that the Department of Education has never provided validation that the alleged lending and borrowing related legally binding debt instruments exist. The Department of Education has only validated that it has partial copies of financial aid applications that I filled in as a student from 1990-1996. Obviously, partial copies of financial aid applications and legally binding promissory note debt instruments are different documents.
  • Given, that the requested documents do not exist, the Department of Education must explicitly state that the requested documents do not exist.

The Department of Education is Legally Obligated to Provide the Requested Information

The Department of Education has had close to 7 years to work on this case and has dragged me along. As of today, I have not received any documents that demonstrate that the alleged student loan lending and borrowing transactions actually took place, that I actually received the allegedly borrowed money either directly, or indirectly as tuition support, and that the corresponding legally binding valid debt instruments exist.

The Department of Education is making monetary demands in this case. Therefore, it is the obligation of the Department of Education to furnish qualifying proof that the monetary demands are valid.

The Department of Education claims that I borrowed money from Fleet National Bank, a commercial entity, as student loans when I attended Rhode Island College 1990-1996. Further, the Department of Education claims that it holds relevant legally binding promissory notes. The Department of Education is responsible for validating such claims and the corresponding monetary demands. In accordance with case law, (citing)

  • as assignees, the Guaranty Agencies and other secondary holders step into the shoes of the lender from whom they have taken the promissory notes and are subject to any defenses that the student/obligee may assert against the assignor/lender. See Jackson v. Culinary School of Washington, 788 F. Supp. 1233, 1248 n.9 (D.D.C. 1992), reversed on other grounds, 27 F.2d 573 (D.C. Cir. 1994), vacated, 515 U.S. 1139, on reconsideration, 59 F.3d 354 (D.C. Cir. 1995).

The above citation is applicable to the time period when the alleged loans were made. Thus, the Department of Education is in the shoes of the alleged lender, Fleet National Bank, a commercial entity. Of course, the Department of Education is in a peculiar situation here, because no loans exist. So, the Department of Education could claim that the above case law does not apply to it because no loans exist. However, then the aspect that there is no valid base for making any monetary demands would become even more obvious.

Mail Fraud by Usage of False Documents for the Purpose of Potential Monetary Gain

The Department of Education employees have stated that they and their collection agency business partners have sent me copies of promissory notes for student loans. This is incorrect. I have never received any copies of promissory notes of the alleged bank loans. I have received partial copies of my financial aid applications. Obviously, promissory notes of bank loans and financial aid applications are different documents.

The financial aid applications that I filled in and signed are approximately half a page long and do end with a short section that is labeled Promissory Note. Below that section is the only place on the application for a signature and that is where I signed my financial aid applications as a student. Based on these financial aid applications I received Rhode Island College Honors Scholarship, Pell Grant and work-study financial aid that covered the cost of my attending Rhode Island College 1990-1996.

My signing the financial aid applications below the section that is labeled Promissory Note does not in any way make me a borrower. A bank actually lending money to me and my accepting the loan would make me a borrower. In that case, the relevant documents and records would demonstrate that lending and borrowing took place.

According to the information received, the alleged student loan lender was Fleet National Bank, a commercial entity that is subject to Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) requirements. As I have found out through my research, actual legally binding promissory note documents must contain the following information in order to meet the UCC requirements:

  • The exact principal amount that has to be paid.
  • Specific interest rate.
  • Due date, and when and at what frequencies any money has to be paid.
  • Document must be an unconditional promise to pay.

The financial aid applications that I signed do not contain any such information, because these are merely financial aid applications. No lending and borrowing transactions took place. Without lending and borrowing transactions relevant documents and information do not exist and no valid debt obligation exists either.

Another UCC requirement is that a legally binding promissory note must be an unconditional promise to pay. The financial aid applications that I signed fail this requirement as well, because they do not state with certainty that the financial aid applicant will receive or has received any loan amount at all. Similarly, the financial aid applications that I signed do not in any way demonstrate that I borrowed any money whatsoever.

Honest Service Fraud by Refusing to Fulfill FOIA Request

The Department of Education has never furnished the requested documents and information. Instead, the Department of Education has sent me following types of documents:

  • Partial copies of my financial aid applications.
  • Internal documents which seem to have been generated after I had graduated from college.
  • Computer screen snapshots of records that seem to have been generated after I had graduated from college.
  • Copies of my letters to the U.S. Department of Education regarding this case.

The documents that the Department of Education has sent me fall into the following categories:

  • 1) partial copies of my financial aid applications, and
  • 2) internal records and documents that seem to have been generated after I graduated from college, and my correspondence (starting 2011) to the Department of Education that was also created after I graduated from college.

Vast majority of the documents that the Department of Education has sent me have been copies of my correspondence to the Department of Education, requesting documents addressed here.

For example, if the current operating practices will continue, the letter that you are reading now, will also become part of additional "evidence" that I owe money to the Department of Education. The Department of Education employees will make an electronic copy of it and when I will request documents identified in the above subsection Information that Is Needed, then instead of sending me the requested documents, they will send me copies of my correspondence to the Department of Education and other institutions, together with other material that was generated after I graduated and with partial copies of my financial aid applications.

However, if the current operating practices will continue, the Department of Education will once again refuse to send me any actually requested material, or admit that the requested documents simply do not exist. This way, this case continues. In the process, the Department of Education and its business partners force me to continue to work on this case.

What we need instead, are the documents and information listed in the above subsection titled Information that Is Needed. Equally importantly, if such documents and information do not exist, the Department of Education must admit that they do not exist.

Thomas Eklund

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