Touro College Rocked By Cash For Grades Scandal
Touro College, which describes itself as a school operating under Jewish auspices, is in effect a haredi version of Yeshiva University, a few steps up from a degree mill but considerably weaker academically than YU. Late today a NY grand jury issued 10 indictments in a cash for grades and cash for transcripts scheme that began operating at least as far back as 2003.
A New York City Grand Jury has indicted 10 individuals for their involvement in a scheme to create and sell fraudulent student transcripts at a local college based in Manhattan. Some of the defendants charged in the indictment include the former director of admissions and the former director of the computer center for Touro College, three students who attended Touro College, as well as three New York City Public School teachers. In February 2007, Touro College reported the case to the Computer Crimes Squad, New York Police Department, which referred the case to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
The defendants are Andrique Baron, 34, of Hoffman Ave., Elmont; Michael Cherner, 51, of Village Roade East, Brooklyn; Vladimir “Jimmy” Diaquoi, 38, of East 21 St., Brooklyn; Lasheen Tingling, 32, of Willoughby St., Brooklyn; Florence Constant, 53, of 45th St., Flushing; Uzi Azizov, 22, of West 6th St., Brooklyn; Boris Yakubov, 25, of 63rd St., Forest Hills; Renee Rene, 38, of 210 St., Queens Village; Ghislene Julmice, 43, of Arlington Terrace, Queens; and Irene Zalivansky, 24, of Coyle St., Brooklyn.
Baron was the former director of admissions for Touro College, New York School of Career and Applied Studies in Manhattan (1994–2007) and Cherner was the former director of the Computer Center for Touro College, Kings Highway, Brooklyn campus (1990-2007).
The indictment charges that from approximately Jan. 8 to March 31, Baron and Cherner improperly altered, created, and deleted at least seven transcripts in a cash-for-grades scheme. At least three of the altered records belonged to current Touro students, whose existing records were enhanced with improved grades or additional or deleted courses.…
Prosecutors says Baron and Cherner also accepted bribes from at least four individuals who never attended Touro, but paid for fraudulent transcripts. Three of these individuals were New York City Department of Education teachers who needed master’s degrees to obtain permanent certification.Prosecutors says Baron and Cherner also accepted bribes from at least four individuals who never attended Touro, but paid for fraudulent transcripts. Three of these individuals were New York City Department of Education teachers who needed master’s degrees to obtain permanent certification.…
On the bright side, when Touro officials noticed the fraud, they called the police.
On the bad side, the New York Times reports that Manhattan district attorney, Robert M. Morgenthau, said:
[T]he investigation was continuing, adding that he believed that hundreds, maybe even thousands, of transcripts may have been fabricated or altered.
Touro may be best known in the Jewish world for granting credit for yeshiva studies. Students studying in Aish HaTorah and other haredi ba'al teshuva yeshivas have received college credit through Touro for those studies, as have students of other, non-BT haredi yeshivot in Israel. It is also well-known as the place haredim go when they need a quick degree.