I'd like to note, in particular, that the search was not carried out by a SWAT team, nor does the Department own or operate a SWAT team. The use of this term is incorrect and carries embellished connotations. Your comments ("The US Department of Education sent a SWAT Team," and "Federally directed SWAT troopers") convey a violent and police-like image of the Department. Not only is this untrue, it severely undermines the work we actually do here; the work that was so readily pushed aside in favor of a fabricated story from a local news team. We would appreciate it if you updated your post, as it is factually incorrect, and misleading to your readers.
OIG Statement on Execution of Search Warrant in Stockton, California On June 7, 2011
On June 7, U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General (OIG) special agents executed a search warrant at a Stockton, California residence. The warrant was authorized by a Federal Magistrate Judge.
Reports by the media that the search was related to a defaulted student loan are wrong. The OIG does not engage in the collection of late student loan payments. The OIG conducts criminal investigations of fraud, bribery, embezzlement, and other criminal activity involving the Department of Education.
Before we execute a search warrant, OIG always assesses the risk involved so that we can ensure the safety of the officers involved, the occupants of the property, and the general public. We look at a number of factors, such as the persons known to occupy or frequent the location and whether they have any criminal or violent histories.
The reasons for our search warrant are currently under seal by the court and cannot be discussed publicly. Also, to protect the integrity of the investigatory process and the privacy of any individuals associated with an investigation, OIG does not discuss details of its ongoing criminal investigations.
Additional Information on OIG
OIG is the law enforcement arm of the Department of Education and is responsible for the detection and prevention of waste, fraud, abuse, and criminal activity involving Department funds, programs, and operations. We conduct independent audits, investigations, inspections, and other reviews. We make recommendations to the Department to address systemic weaknesses and take administrative action. We also make refer criminal matters to the U.S. Department of Justice for prosecution. Our staff includes auditors, financial analysts, information technology professionals, special agents, inspectors, management and budget analysts, and attorneys. OIG operates with full statutory law enforcement authority, which includes conducting search warrants and making arrests. We carry out our activities in accordance with Federal policies and procedures.
For more information on OIG investigative operations, including our statutory law enforcement authority, press releases and summaries of our investigative work, please visit our Web site at: http://www.ed.gov/oig
"The Department of Education emailed Raw Story with a comment from spokesman Justin Hamilton to say the search warrant and raid were related to a criminal investigation, not a student loan default. The ABC affiliate has yanked its story that made the now seemingly false claim.
'While it was reported in local media that the search was related to a defaulted student loan, that is incorrect. This is related to a criminal investigation. The Inspector General's Office does not execute search warrants for late loan payments," Hamilton said. "Because this is an ongoing criminal investigation, we can't comment on the specifics of the case.'"