SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Attorney General Ashley Moody is recovering funds for students of a Florida diploma mill.
Moody’s office successfully got the Riverview-based Ellenwood Academy, LLC shut down. The Hillsborough County Circuit Court ruled in the AG’s favor and awarded the stipulated relief that includes a permanent ban against Ellenwood Academy and its owner on operating, managing, owning, directing or maintaining any financial interest in a business that markets high school or equivalency diplomas. The court also awarded monetary relief, including restitution to consumers, civil penalties and fees
“For many, obtaining a high school education or equivalent diploma is a steppingstone to a better career and more prosperous life. It is deeply discouraging that the defendants in this case took advantage of those aspirations to rip off students attempting to work towards a better life. On top of taking fees from consumers for spurious diplomas, Ellenwood Academy also cost some graduates their jobs once employers discovered their diplomas were not meaningfully accredited. I am proud we shut down this sham operation and secured monetary relief for consumers harmed by these deceptive practices,” Moody said in a statement.
The court action stemmed from complaints against Ellenwood Academy for marketing illegitimate high school diplomas to consumers in Florida and nationwide. The organization charged students $195 to enroll in a purported high school program and take an exam but did not employ any faculty or provide any instruction for students.
Ellenwood Academy’s website falsely claimed to produce accredited high school diplomas that gave students the credentials required for most jobs.
If you were enrolled in Ellenwood Academy and believe you may be entitled to restitution, contact the Florida Attorney General’s Office by visiting MyFloridaLegal.com or via phone at 1(866) 9NO-SCAM.