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Most students hope to avoid college calculus. But Alexander Odom Jr. eagerly signed up for the summer class at the University of Pennsylvania in August 1998. By the end of the month, he was good enough with numbers to finagle $2,990 from the student credit union, prosecutors say. Odom, 27, spent the last five years as an itinerant student, staying at more than a dozen schools just long enough to get a student ID card, open a bank or credit union account — and write bad checks. The scheme took Odom from Stanford University in California to the University of Wisconsin to New York University, netting him $85,000 — and, after Wednesday’s sentencing, two years in federal prison. “There was a pattern of schools that he would hit and defraud in a serial fashion,” said Martin Carlson, First Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. The 14 bank fraud cases, including one at Penn State, were consolidated in Williamsport. Odom deposited $4,535 in worthless checks at the Penn State Federal Credit Union in May 2000, and withdrew $4,225 within three days, according to the indictment. Odom, who grew up in Fairmont, N.C., mostly used his real name, although he used four different Social Security numbers, authorities said. Neither prosecutors nor Odom’s lawyer know if he ever accumulated any credits, or how he gained admission to the schools. “There were some good schools there,” said G. Scott Gardner, the court-appointed defense lawyer, who described his client as bright. “He was interested in studying medicine,” Gardner said. “That was his goal, to someday have a career in medicine.” Odom was also ordered to pay $53,000 restitution to the banks and credit unions seeking repayment. So far, authorities have not recouped any of the money. Schools included in the scheme included the University of Minnesota, the University of Miami, the University of Nebraska, the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Michigan, the University of Washington, Boston University, Purdue, the University of Illinois, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of California, San Diego. Copyright 2002 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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