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Prison Inmate Bound Over for Trial on Felony Fraud Offense Related to Operation of Alleged "Diploma Mill"

 

MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that after a preliminary hearing on January 19, 2012, Winnebago County Circuit Court Commissioner John Kuech found probable cause and bound over for trial Kenneth S. Shong, who's charged with a single count of “Fraudulent Writings,” a felony offense contrary to section 943.39(2) of the Wisconsin Statutes. An arraignment is scheduled for February 10, 2012, at 9:00 a.m. in Winnebago County Circuit Court.

 

According to the criminal complaint, Shong is charged with a single count of “Fraudulent Writings,” a felony offense contrary to section 943.39(2) of the Wisconsin Statutes.

 

The complaint alleges that Shong was an inmate in the Oshkosh Correctional Institution in 2006 when he encouraged another inmate to enroll in “Carlingford University.” Shong allegedly made representations to the inmate about the legitimacy of “Carlingford University” as a degree granting institution and provided the inmate with written information regarding the “University.” Based on those representations, the inmate did enroll in a “Carlingford University” course of study and arranged for his mother to send a tuition payment by postal money order to a post office box in Mobile, Alabama. Investigation revealed that the post office box in Mobile, Alabama, was identified in Carlingford correspondence as the base for Carlingford University's “Office of External Studies, North American Division.” The inmate and his mother later learned that representations made by Shong regarding the legitimacy of “Carlingford University” as a degree granting institution were untrue and the inmate made a complaint to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) in August, 2008. That complaint was eventually forwarded to the DOJ.

 

The Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) staff at the Racine Correctional Institution also became suspicious of Shong's activities from that prison after he had been transferred there in the fall of 2007. DOC staff conducted an investigation and forwarded information to the Wisconsin Educational Approval Board (EAB) in the fall of 2008 questioning whether Shong was operating an unauthorized and fraudulent “university” in Wisconsin. The EAB investigated, determined that “Carlingford” did appear to be operating within Wisconsin without necessary approval, and issued a “cease and desist” order to “Carlingford University” at what was purported on its then-existing website to be its Green Bay “Regional Training Center.” The EAB also forwarded a request for investigation to the DOJ.

 

An investigation has been conducted by the DOJ Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) and is ongoing. The DCI investigation was aided by the information developed by the Wisconsin DOC and EAB.

 

The State is represented in this prosecution by Assistant Attorneys General Michael G. Schaefer and Phillip Ferris, at the request of the Winnebago County District Attorney's Office. The DOJ Office of Crime Victim Services is assisting the prosecutors.

 

The complaint contains only the State's allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. The State bears the burden of proving the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

 

A copy of the amended Criminal Complaint is available at the following link: