Texas Goes After Houston ‘Diploma Mill’

     HOUSTON (CN) – A Houston “diploma mill” charges $350 for bogus transcripts and diplomas for so-called students who take its error-riddled test, Texas claims in court.
     The Texas attorney general sued Southwest Academy, All Access Net, and their sole proprietor, Lawrence Miles Jr., all of Houston, on Thursday in Harris County Court.
     Miles runs his business on the Internet and from an office in Houston.
     “Students are not required to complete any coursework in order to receive the diploma and transcript,” the attorney general says, bluntly calling it “a high school diploma mill.”
     Quoting from the defendants’ website, the state says Miles promises a diploma and “transcript” to anyone 18 years or older who gets 70 percent or better on the test. Miles claims that the test takes 4 to 6 hours, and that the diploma will show the holder earned “26 credits by independent home study,” according to the lawsuit.
     The attorney general cites some questions from the exam:
     “This home school exit exam is party a [sic] open book research project where the taker can research internet sites such as Ask.com, and Google.com to obtain answer [sic] to questions.”
     And: “PERCENTS Chance [sic] all the percent’s [sic] to a decimal and then multiply choose [sic] the best answer[:]
     “[Question 109] 100 * 5% =
     “100 (b) 5 (c) 10 (d) 500 (e) 50” (Brackets in complaint.)
     Miles also offers a “home study course” for $450, the state says. He issues a “Texas Home school High School Diploma,” which is “certified and notarized by defendant Lawrence Miles himself.”
     Miles is a notary public.
     Southwest Academy claims to have about 4,000 “graduates,” the state says, using the sneer quotes.
     Texas seeks a restraining order and injunction, preservation of records, disgorgement, restitution, civil penalties, and other relief.

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