Update: June 11th, 2015, BROWNSVILLE, Texas (KXAN) – Federal court records show a Leander High School cosmetology teacher pled not guilty at a hearing in connection with federal fraud charges. Aurora Lozano’s next court date is July 21st for a Motion Hearing. Jury selection is scheduled for July 30th the record shows.
LEANDER, Texas (KXAN) – Agents with the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General arrested a Leander High School cosmetology teacher Thursday on federal charges related to her operation of a South Texas spa institute.
Aurora Lozano, 37, has been indicted on 14 counts of obtaining, or attempting obtain, federal funds through fraud, false statement and forgery, according to a federal indictment filed May 28. The agents arrested Lozano at Leander High School Thursday morning according to a letter sent home to parents.
Before working in Leander, Lozano owned and operated Salon and Spa Institute in Brownsville. The 14-count indictment contends, over a two-year period from November 2010 to November 2012, Lozano may have illegally obtained about $190,000 in federal funds related to the federal Pell Grant Program, possibly others.
The separate counts the indictment lists show approximate dates of grant monies received, student initials and dollar amounts ranging from $688 to $20,773.
“Ms. Lozano maintains her innocence in these new allegations and intends to defend her name, reputation and innocence with respect to these allegations,” her attorneys, Lorenzana & Sarhan, said in a statement.
Lozano also pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft in 1996, and she was sentenced to nine months’ probation, according to Department of Public Safety records. Typically minor crimes dating back more than a decade are not considered reason to not hire someone for a teaching job.
The letter sent home to parents from Leander High School Principal Tiffany Spicer shows the school has acquired a substitute to fill in while the investigation takes place, so the students can fulfill their certification requirements.
Lozano is listed as registered Cosmetology Instructor with Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, the state’s umbrella licensing agency.
While Lozano was arrested in the Western Judicial District, she is due in the Southern District Federal Court in Brownsville on June 5 for a hearing before a magistrate judge. She was freed on $10,000 unsecured bond, federal court records show.
Lozano’s court hearing June 5 was rescheduled to June 11 in the U.S. District Court in Brownsville.