Bogus High School Equivalency Course Exposed
Attorney General Spitzer today announced that his office has filed a lawsuit against a Queens-based company that duped consumers into paying hundreds of dollars for phony GED diplomas.
"A high school diploma is an important step on the ladder of success," Spitzer said. "This company pulled the ladder out from under dozens of individuals who were trying to get ahead."
GE Career Center, Inc. and its president, Mikhail Fisun a/k/a Mike Davis, are accused of fraudulently advertising a high school equivalency course.
Since at least 1999, the GE Career Center has been offering a correspondence course leading to a "G.E.D." high school equivalency diploma. This was not the states official "General Education Development Degree," but a bogus degree invented by the career center.
The company targeted high school dropouts with appeals to "Get your AT-HOME G.E.D. Correspondence Program," and "a High School Equivalency Diploma Course ....Your program will include all the study materials necessary to complete your GED course...After you have successfully passed all of the tests, you will receive a transcript with your grades along with your DIPLOMA."
GE Career Center told individuals that its diploma could be used to get a job or to enroll in college. Many consumers who paid GE Career Center for educational assistance received nothing at all. Those who actually received their ordered materials, completed the course and received the alleged "diploma," soon discovered that it was worthless when applying to a college or for a job.
When customers of GE Career Center requested a refund, the companys staff made numerous excuses, and at times, became hostile toward callers. More than 50 individuals subsequently registered complaints with the Attorney Generals office.
The Attorney General is seeking a court order to:
- Close down GE Career Center in New York;
- Require GE Career Center to make full restitution to its victims, and
- Require GE Career Center to pay civil penalties and court costs for its violations of the states consumer protection laws.
Individuals wishing to file a complaint against GE Career Centers are encouraged to contact the Attorney Generals office at (800) 771-7755 or go to the website at www.ag.ny.gov.
This case was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Hillary Weisman and Joy Feigenbaum of the Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau.
Attorney General Spitzer provided the following advice and information to consumers interested in pursuing their high school equivalency diploma: