8 Outrageous Frauds Involving Online Degrees
March 12, 2010
Widespread marketing and misrepresentation have resulted in a glut of phony degrees, and you should check any alleged accreditation against the US Department of Education Database. Sometimes though, it is not only the phony college who benefits, as the list below will reveal.
Craig and Alton Poe formed the Trinity Southern University (TSU) in January 2004 and offered “degrees” in a variety of subjects for a fee between $299 and $499. They hacked into 60 Pennsylvania businesses to distribute over 18.000 spam emails advertising the scam. Using a bogus résumé for the deputy attorney general´s cat, investigators were able to acquire an MBA degree for “Colby” with a 3.5 grade point average. In March 2005 the brothers were fined a total of $131.000 for their fraudulent actions.
Trenda Halton of Peoria, Arizona defrauded the government of nearly $540.000 by recruiting 136 people to pose as students and enrolling at the Rio Salado College in Tempe over a 15 month period from July 2006. By having her recruits participate in online “classes”, Ms Halton received federal student loans and Pell Grant money. The scam came to light when handwriting on application forms was found to be similar, and Halton, plus 23 other defendants, have now been ordered to repay $793.073.
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