Texas Attorney General Files Lawsuit against Alleged Diploma Mills

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Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

The Texas Attorney General has filed a lawsuit seeking a permanent injunction against a Dallas-based group of alleged “diploma mills” that unlawfully marketed and sold fraudulent high school diplomas and transcripts in violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA).

“Schools such as these take advantage of Texans seeking to better their lives through the attainment of their high school degree, however in reality, they’re paying for diplomas that are essentially worthless,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton stated in a news release.

According to court documents filed in Dallas County district court, seven individuals operated thirteen alleged diploma mills posing as high schools across north Texas. The State seeks a judgment against defendants for civil penalties, court costs, and restitution for affected consumers.

The alleged diploma mills used false and misleading statements to lure students to their “accredited” schools. After paying up to $500, students did not obtain academic instruction or grades. Upon graduation, they found their diplomas were not accepted by colleges or the military as promised.

Diploma mills are highly profitable and rake in an estimated $200 million annually, according to an infographic titled “Diploma Mills: How to Recognize & Avoid Them” from College Choice, an independent online publication dedicated to helping students and their families find the right college.

The infographic names California as the top location by state for diploma mills with 134 and also offers ten warning signs of diploma mills that include: cold calls and spam, no studies or exams, admission based on having credit cards, and instant degrees exchanged for a lump sum of money.

To combat the growing problem of diploma mills in the United States, schools are generally accredited by private organizations recognized as legitimate accreditors by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the U.S. Department of Education.

CHEA created a Database of Institutions and Programs Accredited by Recognized United States Accrediting Organizations. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Post-Secondary Education (OPE) provides a Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs.

U.S. businesses also need to be aware of the problem of diploma mills, according to Attorney Lester Rosen, Founder and CEO of San Francisco, California-area background check firm Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) and author of ‘The Safe Hiring Manual.’

“Diploma mills create a danger to employers since educational achievements tell a great deal about a job applicant’s ability, qualifications, and motivation,” says Rosen, who wrote an article ‘The Basics of Education Verifications’ explaining how employers can avoid being tricked by diploma mills.

More Information about Diploma Mills from ESR

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority®’ – offers employers blogs about diploma mills that give many examples of schools offering worthless degrees. To learn more about ESR, please call toll free 888.999.4474 or visit http://www.esrcheck.com.

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