Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Is it Mail Fraud to Write Someone's Astronomy Paper?

As part of a plea agreement, "[a] former basketball coach at Barton County Community College, in Kansas, admitted on Monday to falsifying the transcript of a former player and stealing $89,614 in Pell Grants and other student-aid funds." (see Chronicle of Higher Education here - subscription required).  In a press release issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Wichita , Kansas, (here) the defendant will receive two years probation and "pay $26,259 in restitution.”

In addition to pleading guilty to embezzling student assistant funds, the defendant "admitted that he prepared and submitted time sheets representing that student athletes worked in the campus employment program or Federal Work Study program to DOE and the college and that he knew the work had not been performed by the student athletes."

But the most fascinating aspect of this plea is the admission that the defendant "did class work for athletes."  Yes, "he completed academic work on behalf of student athletes, " including as noted in the Press Release of the USA's office, completing astronomy paper for a student athlete at the college. The press release notes that this allowed the student "to complete the required course work at Barton for an associate’s degree and to achieve eligibility to play basketball on an NCAA Division 1 team." And the mailing for the mail fraud, you might ask - a transcript "representing that a student athlete had completed and earned an associates’ degree when he knew the student athlete was not entitled to receive the degree."

(esp)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/whitecollarcrime_blog/2005/12/is_it_mail_frau.html

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