List of animals with fraudulent diplomasPosted: 2014/04/13
Colby Nolan is a housecat who was awarded an MBA in 2004 by Trinity Southern University, a Dallas-based diploma mill, sparking a fraud lawsuit by the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office.
Colby Nolan belongs to a deputy attorney general. In looking to expose Trinity Southern University for fraud, some undercover agents had the then six-year-old Colby Nolan obtain a bachelor’s degree in business administration for $299. On the cat’s application, the agents claimed that the cat had previously taken courses at a community college, worked at a fast-food restaurant, babysat, and maintained a newspaper route. Then the school informed Colby that, due to the job experience listed on his application, he was eligible for an executive MBA for $100 more. The agents then sent for Colby’s transcript, which claimed that he had a GPA of 3.5.
Jerry Pappert, Pennsylvania’s attorney general, filed a lawsuit against Trinity Southern University upon learning that the cat had received the degree. In the lawsuit, Pappert also told the diploma mill, which had used e-mail spam to sell degrees, to provide restitution to anyone who had ordered a degree from them.
In December 2004, the Texas attorney general obtained a temporary restraining order under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act against Trinity Southern and its owners, Craig B. and Alton S. Poe. The court also ordered the school’s assets frozen. In March 2005, the Poes were assessed penalties of over $100,000 by the court and were ordered not to market or promote fraudulent, substandard degree programs or to represent their university as being accredited or affiliated with legitimate universities. It was reported that the Poes also were associated with Wesleyan International University and Prixo Southern University. Trinity Southern University’s website has been offline since 2005.