For-Profit College Hired Exotic Dancers As Admissions Reps

FastTrainThe operators of a now-defunct for-profit college in Florida allegedly told its admissions directors to do whatever it took to sell the school to potential students. Among the tactics used by the school is one straight out of a wacky, low-budget, late-night college movie you might see on Cinemax.

According to a lawsuit [PDF] filed earlier this week by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida against the operators of the FastTrain chain of colleges, the school used exotic dancers to entice young males to apply to the school.

“FastTrain employed female exotic dancers as admissions representatives… to lure young male students,” reads the complaint, which says that admissions directors then “encouraged them to dress provocatively while they recruited young men in neighborhoods to attend FastTrain.”

The goal, alleges the suit, was to get as many students enrolled in the school as possible in order to get these students to take out federal student loans. That money would go to the school, and the student is left on the hook whether or not they graduate, get a decent education, or ever have the ability to repay.

Before it closed in 2012, FastTrain operated seven campuses in Florida’s Miami-Dade, Broward, Hillsborough, Pinellas and Duval counties.

According to the complaint, starting as far back as 2009 FastTrain “knowingly submitted, or caused to be submitted, numerous false claims” for payments through the U.S. Dept. of Education’s student aid programs.

FastTrain allegedly lied about students’ eligibility for aid, claiming these students had high school diplomas (or equivalents) when they did not.

The government says that FastTrain admissions personnel coached prospective ineligible students to lie on their Free Application for Federal Student Aid form “in order for FastTrain to secure more federal funding for students than the students were eligible to receive.”

FastTrain allegedly took in more than $4.3 million in federal student loans and another $2.21 million in Federal Pell Grants that shouldn’t have been given.

“Federal financial student aid programs are designed to assist students obtain an education. Those who misuse federal funds will be brought to justice and held accountable,” said U.S. Attorney Ferrer.

While Florida AG Bondi says that “Taking advantage of students in order to exploit federal financial aid programs is reprehensible, and we will continue to work with our federal partners to protect Florida students and the integrity of federal financial aid.”

The school’s owner, Alex Amor, and other individuals associated with FastTrain were charged earlier this fall in a 15-count indictment with conspiracy to steal government funds.


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