Touro officials accused in degree scam
Jul 17,2007 00:00 by UPI

NEW YORK -- New York prosecutors accuse two Touro College administrators of accepting bribes to change grades and award phony diplomas.

Accused mastermind Andrique Baron, who formerly served as head of admissions for the college, and Michael Cherner, the former head of the computer department, were charged along with a "bag man," and four alleged purchasers of altered grades and fake degrees have been indicted. Police say at least 50 other transactions are known of and thousands of others may have taken place, the New York Post reported Tuesday.

Investigators said that for prices ranging from $3,000 to $25,000, students could purchase doctored transcripts and non-students could buy degrees up to a master's.

A Department of Education spokeswoman said three New York special education teachers accused of paying $3,000 for graduate degrees will be reassigned to non-teaching positions in the fall until the investigation is resolved.

Baron's lawyer, Ronald Aiello, claimed his client is innocent of the charges.

"He is an absolute scapegoat," he said.

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