May 14, 2014
There is an ongoing debate as to the relative merits of higher education. Is a Bachelor's Degree worth taking out a student loan? Is a Master's Degree worth the effort? Is a Doctorate ever going to be worth the extra time you invest?
Enter into the debate, one James Enowitch, 48, of Cromwell,CT, who offered a solution, if you will, to controlling the investment of time and the cost of tuition. Starting around 2003, Enowitch was involved in advertising and selling diplomas. And not just a run-of-the-mill sheepskin that you earned after years of sweat and tuition. No, this was a new and improved degree.
No course work.
No earned credits.
No classroom attendance.
Ph.D in Taurean Faeces
A digital degree for the digital age, so to speak. You pick the prestigious sounding school from which you would earn your degree from among some of these seemingly venerable institutions:
- BrysonUniversity-Edu.org, and
Okay, you're right, who the hell would want Ph.D from the University of Worry Free - but, c'mon, the rest of the programs come off sounding credible. I mean, just imagine, Bill Singer, Doctor of Taurean Faeces from Suffield University. Nice ring to it, no? All of those websites were linked to an entity of the same name owned by Enowitch and his co-schemer. Some might call them "diploma mills." Oh well, so many folks are party poopers.
I mean, after all, why cast aspersions? So what if the educational institutions had no faculty members, offered no academic curricula or services, required no course or class work, and were not recognized by the United States Department of Education. You can find fault in virtually anything -- even a virtual school of higher education -- if that's your goal.
The BFD from NDLAC
And each of the degrees sold online came with the accreditation of the National Distance Learning Accreditation Council (NDLAC). I mean, so what if Enowitch fabricated NDLAC. BFD, right? If you're going to nitpick about the NDLAC accreditation, one can only imagine how chagrined you would be to learn that Enowitch and others created phony transcripts that represented that the purchaser had taken certain coursework that the purchaser had never taken. On top of that, I imagine you might get a tad pissed to learn that degree purchasers were able to create their own transcripts and backdate degrees. To top it all off, if you needed to confirm to third parties that your degree was bona fide, there was even a verification service available to back up your degrees.
Frankly, the whole shebang came in at an attractive and hard-to-beat price of between $475 to $550 - replete with a discount if you purchased more than one. Ah yes, the old quantity education discount. A particularly nice touch was that a degree purchasers could select grades for the phony courses included in their bogus transcripts.
Master of Criminal Justice, Summa Cum Laude ($25 Extra Charge)
Alas, on April 16, 2014, Enowitch was charged in federal court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in a criminal Information alleging mail fraud, and aiding and abetting mail fraud in connection with the sale of about $5 million worth of degrees between 2003 and 2012. Allegedly, he realized over $700,000 in profits from this scheme. Enowitch faces up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine, a $100 special assessment, and an order of forfeiture.
On May 08, 2014, Enowitch pled guilty to both the mail fraud and the aiding and abetting.