Ringleader Of Teacher Test-Taking Scheme Indicted
Memphis, TN – Clarence Mumford, 58, of Memphis, Tennessee, has been indicted in a 45-count indictment charging a conspiracy to violate the laws of the United States; specifically, mail fraud, wire fraud, Social Security fraud, aggravated identity theft, and fraud in connection with identification documents, announced United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, Edward L. Stanton, III.
The indictment charges a scheme in which Mumford is alleged to have been the ringleader of a group of individuals whom he paid to take teacher certification examinations on behalf of teachers and aspiring teachers in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi. The examinations were PRAXIS examinations written and administered under the auspices of Educational Testing Services ("ETS"). Teachers and aspiring teachers were required to pass these examinations by the state departments of education to obtain teacher’s licenses or endorsements to existing licenses.
According to the indictment, the ring was in operation since 1995 and continued until at least March 2010. The ring involved teachers and aspiring teachers in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi. Mumford charged teachers and aspiring teachers fees of approximately $1,500 to $3,000 per test, depending upon the time frame and which test was taken. Mumford made tens of thousands of dollars during the course of the scheme. As part of the ring's operations, Mumford obtained teachers' and aspiring teachers' identifications, as well as the identifications of test takers, and made fake identifications used by test-takers to gain admission to the examinations at test sites in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee.
“This indictment charges crimes that strike at the fabric of our society," said Edward L. Stanton, III, United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee. "In an area that should be sacrosanct – the education of our children – Mumford has created an atmosphere in which teachers who are not only unqualified, but who have also gained credentials by fraud, stand in front of our children every day. Mumford's conduct has done harm to the systems in which unqualified teachers have been able to teach, to the individual schools, to qualified individuals who could have obtained jobs filled by unqualified teachers, and, ultimately, to a generation of our schoolchildren.”
This investigation was conducted by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the United States Secret Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney John Fabian and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Kirby May, represent the government.