Trinity Southern University’s Operators Fined Thousands in Bogus Degree Scam

March 19, 2006

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has obtained judgments against two brothers who operated Trinity Southern University, a for-profit Dallas-based “university” that issued fraudulent degrees.

Craig B. Poe agreed to pay $10,000 initially and another $6,000 in several installments to settle the Attorney General’s lawsuit against him, in which he was alleged to have offered deceptive degree programs. Alton S. Poe, who failed to respond to Attorney General Abbott’s December 2004 lawsuit, was assessed a default judgment ordering him to pay a $100,000 penalty, plus more than $15,000 in state attorneys’ fees.

Permanent Injunction against Craig and Alton Poe

The Poe brothers had been fraudulently promoting the for-profit “diploma mill” university as an accredited institution offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate “degrees” via advertisements on the university’s Web site. These “degrees” were being issued solely on the basis of a “student’s” testimony about skills and experience. Other university names affiliated with the Poes are Wesleyan International University and Prixo Southern University.

According to the final order, the defendants may no longer market or promote fraudulent, substandard degree programs or represent their university as being accredited or affiliated with legitimate universities. The defendants have never been accredited by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, which referred this matter to the Attorney General for legal action under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

Trinity Southern’s Web site claimed that a prospective student had “no classes to attend, no tests to take!” Despite having no classroom instruction, the university assured students that, once “qualified” based on their experience, they could receive a bachelor’s degree comprised of 115-120 credit hours. Those pursuing master’s and Ph.D. degrees were promised transcripts reflecting 36-48 hours of course credit.

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This page was posted on March 19, 2006.