PHILADELPHIA — James Enowitch, 48, of Cromwell, Connecticut, has pleaded guilty to mail fraud and aiding and abetting mail fraud, in connection with the operation of a number of fraudulent diploma mills, announced U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger. Between 2003 and 2012, Enowitch sold $5 million worth of fake degrees throughout the world. He profited more than $700,000 from this fraudulent scheme.
As early as 2003, Enowitch began operating a diploma mill, through which he advertised and sold diplomas for a fee, requiring no course work for those “diplomas.” Enowitch and his alleged co-schemer ultimately operated at least seven different websites, through which they sold fraudulent degrees in the name of Redding University, Suffield University, Glendale University, Greenwood University, and Bryson University. Those purported universities were actually diploma mills in that they had no faculty, offered no academic curricula or services, required no course or class work, and were not recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Part of the scheme to which Enowitch pleaded guilty was a fraudulent accrediting body, called the “National Distance Learning Accreditation Council,” used to claim, falsely, that the diploma mills were “nationally accredited.”
Enowitch admitted that he and others created phony transcripts stating that the purchaser had taken courses that the purchaser had never taken; allowed purchasers to create their own transcripts and backdate degrees; and provided fraudulent verification services to back up the fake degrees, in case an employer or other party sought verification. The degree packages ranged from $475 to $550 for associates, bachelors, masters, and doctoral-level degrees with a multi-degree discount for buying more than one. For an additional fee, purchasers could also allegedly select grades for the phony courses included in their transcripts.
The defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine, a $100 special assessment, and an order of forfeiture.
The case was investigated by the FBI, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations.