Manhattan, NY - Second Touro Official Sentenced in Grades-for-Pay Scandal
“This was a horrendous betrayal of trust,” Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Thomas Farber told the crook, Andrique Baron, 36, of Elmont, L.I., before sentencing him this afternoon to serve between 2 2/3 and 8 years prison.
Baron was the former director of admissions for Touro’s School of Career and Applied Studies on West 23rd St.
For at least four years, he and his co-defendant—Mikhail “Michael” Cherner, the former computer director at the Kings Highway, Brooklyn, campus—took money from a dozen students, who were also charged, in a “Sawbucks-for-Sheepskins” scandal that became public two years ago.
Some of Cherner and Baron’s “customers” merely changed “F’s” to “A’s” on their transcripts.
Three teachers paid $3,000 each to buy the Masters degree required to teach special ed.
A Queens man bought a bogus psychology masters, while a Brooklyn woman bought her bachelors without taking a single class, and a fake letter of recommendation to law school went for $50,000.
When the scandal broke, prosecutors said they feared the pair had sold doctored degrees to as many as 50 people—including some for physicians assistants and physical therapists.
The Board of Ed, which issues licenses in these fields, had to sift through the credentials of thousands of Touro alumni to be sure there were no bogus teachers, therapists or medical personnel working in the city, said prosecutor Jonathan Lenzner.
The horrible publicity affected everything from accreditation to admissions to the ability to get bank loans, said Frank Snitow, a lawyer for the college, which has 17,000 students internationally.
Baron apologized in court, peevishly—bemoaning he didn’t get a “second chance”—before being led out in cuffs.
Cherner pleaded guilty in February and was sentenced to one to three years in prison.
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