Valley mom loses $400 to closed school

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By Jim Carr By Jim Carr

PHOENIX -- For now, waiting tables is a temporary job for Annie Trotter. She says it's enough to take care of her family, at least until she can find a career.

“I have wanted to be a nurse for years now,” Trotter told 3 On Your Side

Late last year, Trotter finally found the time and the money to go to nursing school.

She enrolled at the Nelson Academy to become a nursing assistant. She paid the school’s owner, Patrick Nelson, a little more than $400, one-third of the total tuition.

“It felt really good,” Trotter said. “It felt like I was taking a step in the right direction towards actually getting a career and being able to support my family with a real good career.”

Just as she began to cut back on hours at her waitressing job, Trotter said she got a phone call telling her the start date for school was postponed.

“So I went down there and found the doors locked and a foreclosure sign out front,” she explained. “The number disconnected, the website completely shut down. I was just shocked.”

State records show the Nelson Academy closed two weeks ago, right around the time Trotter was supposed to start.
But what about the $400 she gave Nelson for tuition?
3 On Your Side went to the Nelson Academy, but found locked doors and a notice indicating rent had not been paid.

We went to another business address inside a Sun City office building where we found signs for the Nelson Academy still on the doors, but the place was empty.

A 3 On Your Side producer went to Nelson's house, but the person who answered the door wasn't much help.

We wanted to know about Trotter’s tuition money and other students who may have paid, but they didn't want to talk or take our business card.

We left our contact information anyway but have never heard from Nelson or anyone with the Nelson Academy.

So where does all this leave Trotter?

Working more waitressing shifts just to make up for the $400 she's out.

There is some good news. She has found another school to get certified and has enrolled.