Lawsuits for alleged fraud and deception for Massachusetts American Career Institute claim the school was intentionally deceiving in order to get students to enroll as well as to gain accreditation. From falsified signatures and attendance records to fake attendance records and transcripts, this school has been accused of a multitude of fraudulent activity in its efforts to get federally funded student aid off of unknowing students.
Claims made in the lawsuit indicate that the school falsified enrollment and attendance records, forged student signatures, and forged grades in order to gain access to students’ financial aid money and gain accreditation. Students enrolled in the program didn’t receive materials or training as outlined in the program catalogues and over 1,400 students were not refunded when the school slammed and locked its doors suddenly in January 2013.
Not only did American Career Institute fail to give students the education it promised, it accepted them for enrollment without the necessary educational background to complete the course. If that weren’t bad enough, many students with criminal records were accepted to the program by the administration who knew when accepting them they could never gain employment in these fields with their background.
Approximately 89% of American Career Institute’s 2012 revenue was generated through Title IV federal funding, for a total over $30 million. That is not including federal monies received through GI bills or other veteran programs for military veterans attending their programs.
The government criteria indicted these programs would need 160 hours’ worth of internship so students were rushed through classes or couldn’t take them and were put in externships. On arrival, students were ill-prepared for their placement and often hadn’t gained the knowledge or skills necessary to work in these environments. Many were kicked out of operating rooms, treatment rooms, or dentist offices and told they could not work in the field. Why do this, you ask? The government refused to hand over tuition fees to the school until these internships were completed.
American Career Institute’s deceptive acts and practices have landed them in hot water and lawyers are demanding attorney’s fees, protection of students from further hardship, student restitution, and civil penalties. This lawsuit claims the American Career Institute was so far out of line in its enrollment practices that it recruited students from homeless shelters and strip clubs promising these down-on-their-luck individuals high paying jobs with completion of their program. Individuals unable to even speak English were enrolled in English only programs and classes knowing these people could never manage to complete the program requirements.
The lies continued, we discover, as American Career Institute told former students who had dropped out that their existing federal loans would be entirely forgiven provided they re-enroll and finish their studies. Students later found out that American Career Institute had no intention of holding up their end of the bargain and their names were still on the line and they were up to their ears in debt. When state officials investigating the college’s placement rates uncovered the college’s fraudulent practices, it truly showed how low this school was willing to go in order to get its enrollment numbers where they wanted them. Fake companies were created with fake jobs and fake employers, all who told officials they had graduated students employed with their companies. Employees at companies would also cover for the school and say they routinely hired graduates, fake business cards were used, and those employed with American Career Institute for one day more than their graduation date were listed as successfully placed. Even students working post-graduation as cashiers were counted in the listing of students with successful job placements after graduation making this a lie worthy of Pinocchio.
In the end, students were left holding the bag for tens of thousands of dollars in federal student loans and private student loans only to find they were not trained well enough to maintain any employment they did manage to get in their fields, which was rare. The remainder found themselves working in unrelated fields for minimum wage. Many struggle to make ends meet and make their payments and way too many are stuck with their loans in default.
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