$60K offered to students with bogus medical certificationsPosted: Updated:
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced March 27 that students are eligible to receive up to $60,000 in refunds after Para Health Professionals, Inc., and Examination Preparation Institute, Inc. issued unaccredited degrees and medical certifications.
Students who took seminars to become certified in a variety of health professions later discovered the credentials came from an unaccredited establishment purporting to be in the British West Indies. The seminars lasted various lengths of time and included lectures and take home work.
The restitution is part of a consent judgment obtained by the Attorney General's Office against Para Health Professionals and Examination Preparation Institute for violations of the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act.
"These so-called schools scammed students who dreamed of becoming medical technicians in Arizona," said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. "Students paid thousands to become certified medical techs only to find out their certifications are effectively worthless. One victim found out her certification was invalid during a job interview at a local hospital."
Pamela Rae Davis and Ernest C. Esteban, who own and operate both Para Health Professionals and Examination Preparation Institute, admitted they falsely told students they could provide valid medical certifications that were equivalent to state-licensed certifications. Students paid between $99 and $800 per seminar and from $100 to several thousand dollars to obtain "valid educational credentials" such as a bachelor's degree or Ph.D.
The judgment requires Davis and Esteban to pay $40,000 in consumer restitution and up to $20,000 in additional restitution to resolve consumer complaints. Students can still file a complaint with the Attorney General's Office and must include supporting documentation by April 17, 2017 to be eligible for restitution.
The judgment also permanently stopped Davis and Esteban from operating any business that provides education credentials and from making representations that any certification they provide is the equivalent of a state-licensed certification.
If you believe you have been the victim of consumer fraud, you can file a consumer complaint by contacting the Attorney General's Office in
Phoenix at 602-542-5763, in Tucson at 520-628-6504, or outside the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas at 1-800-352-8431. Bilingual consumer protection staff members are available to assist. Consumers can also file complaints online by visiting the Attorney General's website at https://www.azag.gov/complaints/consumer.
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