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Manhattan, NY - Second Touro Official Sentenced in Grades-for-Pay Scandal

Published on: August 1, 2009 10:31 PM
By:  NY Post
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Baron alleged mastermind of the scam, leaves his Elmont, L.I., home file photo 2007Baron alleged mastermind of the scam, leaves his Elmont, L.I., home file photo 2007
Manhattan, NY - A second Touro College computer honcho is going to prison for running his office as a literal diploma mill—pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars from students seeking better transcripts, glowing letters of recommendation and in a few cases completely fabricated degrees.

“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.

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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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1

 Aug 02, 2009 at 03:12 PM The Professor Says:

Hopefully, the incarceration of Cherner and Baron will allow the overwhelming bulk of Touro students and faculty who play by the rules to get on with their lives. What kind of second chance did Baron expect to get? Lock him up and lose the key! Concerning Cherner, it hurts even more - because he wore a yarmulka. He has brought shame on himself, his family, his employer, and his people. If his salary was insufficient, he should have resigned with honor and found something else rather than
enriching himself through deceitful, fraudently activities.

2

 Aug 02, 2009 at 09:04 PM jonny Says:

Cherner was the leader of it all he took a guilty plea to blame everything on Mr. baron never believe everything that you hear or read. Something is just not right with this case. It could happend to everyone how could the leader get 1-3 and mr baron just helping Cherner get 2-8 think about it.

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