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Post date: April 5 2005

Lawsuit Filed Against Long Island Owner Of A Fake G.e.d. Course

New York State Attorney General Spitzer today announced a lawsuit against a Long Island resident for operating a fraudulent and illegal GED (General Education Development) home study course.

Robert Collins, owner of Long Island Home Study, was sued in State Supreme Court in Nassau County for fraud, deceptive business practices and violations of the state Department of Education laws and regulations.

"Unlicensed GED courses prey upon dreams of a better life and steal consumers’ hard-earned money," Spitzer said.

The lawsuit alleges that Collins duped thousands of consumers into signing up for his home study course by falsely representing that they would receive genuine state-authorized high school equivalency diplomas after completing his "GED" test at home.

Under New York law, any school offering a GED preparatory course must be licensed by the State Education Department. Only the Education Department can administer GED examinations, and only the Department can 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 alleges that Collins brazenly 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 and paid 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.

The Attorney General’s lawsuit seeks to shut down Long Island Home Study and to obtain refunds for the thousands of consumers victimized by Collins’ fraud. The Attorney General also seeks civil penalties for Collins’ violations of law, plus court costs.

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.