Court Order Shuts Down Fake G.e.d. Course

Attorney General Spitzer today announced that his office has obtained a court order against a Long Island resident who operated a fraudulent GED home study course.

Robert Collins, owner of Long Island Home Study, agreed to have a judgment entered against him in the amount of $750,000 and to pay at this time $10,000 to consumers. The judgment comes after a decision was issued by Nassau County State Supreme Court Justice Anthony L. Parga that permanently banned Collins from operating his unlicensed GED (General Education Development) home study course.

"My office will take action against those who attempt to profit using false promises of access to educational opportunities," Spitzer said.

Last April, Spitzer sued Collins for fraud, deceptive business practices and violations of state Department of Education laws and regulations. The lawsuit alleged that Collins duped thousands of consumers into signing up for his home study course by falsely representing that he would award them with genuine state-authorized high school equivalency diplomas after they completed his "GED" tests at home, and returned the tests to Collins by mail.

Under New York law, any school offering a GED preparatory course must be licensed by the State Education Department. Only the Education Department has authority to administer GED examinations, and to grant GED diplomas. According to the lawsuit, the Education Department notified Collins that he was required to cease his unlicensed operation of Long Island Home Study, but Collins ignored the Department's demands.

The lawsuit alleged that Collins lied to consumers with promises that they would receive diplomas "straight from the Education Department itself" and that the diplomas could be used "to get into any college in the United States."

Many of the consumers who enrolled in Collins' course were born outside the United States and were not familiar with the educational requirements for a GED. They signed up for Collins' course expecting to obtain diplomas that would help them gain admission to college or trade school. Instead, for their money, they received nothing but worthless "certificates" stating that they had completed Collins' course.

Individuals with complaints against Long Island Home Study are encouraged to contact the Attorney General's help line at 800-771-7755.

The case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Victoria L. Safran, under the supervision of Juan Merchan, Assistant Attorney General-In-Charge of the Nassau Regional Office.

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