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Press Release

Cuny Medgar Evers College Lecturer Charged With Federal Offenses For Selling Fake College Certificates

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

            Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Catherine Leahy Scott, New York State Inspector General, and Debbi Mayer, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General, Northeastern Regional Office (“ED-OIG”), announced today that MAMDOUH ABDEL-SAYED, a full-time, tenured lecturer at the City University of New York’s Medgar Evers College (“Medgar Evers College”), was arrested this morning and charged in Manhattan federal court with fraud, corruption, and obstruction offenses related to his selling of sham Medgar Evers College certificates that purported to represent the completion of health care courses at the College.  ABDEL-SAYED was arrested this morning and will be presented this afternoon in Manhattan federal court.    


            Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said:  “As alleged, a faculty member of Medgar Evers College abused his position to enrich himself by creating and selling fake certificates stating students had completed health care programs at the college.  In allegedly doing so, Abedel-Sayed out of greed put public health at risk.  I want to thank our partners at the New York State Inspector General and Department of Education Office of Inspector General for their continued efforts to root out corruption at federally funded New York schools.”


            New York State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott said:  “This defendant ignored repeated warnings and allegedly still brazenly abused the name and resources of his college employer to operate what amounted to his own fraudulent trade school on the grounds of the City University of New York.  He allegedly traded on the reputation of Medgar Evers College and pocketed all the fees students paid while undercutting legitimate schooling being performed by his colleagues across the campus.  I will continue my overarching and ongoing investigation into the management and oversight of CUNY campuses while diligently pursuing anyone, as in this case, who allegedly violates the trust of their public position.”


            ED-OIG Assistant Special Agent in Charge Debbi Mayer said:  “Today’s action alleges that Mr. Abdel-Sayed not only abused his position of trust for personal gain, but did so at the expense of students.  That is unacceptable.  OIG will continue to aggressively pursue those who misappropriate education funds for their own purposes.  America’s students and taxpayers deserve nothing less.”


            According to the allegations contained in the Complaint[1] unsealed today in Manhattan federal court and publicly available documents:


            MAMDOUH ABDEL-SAYED is a tenured lecturer in the Biology Department at Medgar Evers College.  From at least 2013 through 2017, without authorization from Medgar Evers College, ABDEL-SAYED purported to teach health care courses at the College on topics such as Electrocardiograms, Phlebotomy, and Sonography, and provided students with sham certificates of completion for the courses, in exchange for which ABDEL-SAYED charged fees of up to $1,000 per certificate, which money he kept for himself.  ABDEL-SAYED attempted to avoid scrutiny from the College’s security guards in conducting the unauthorized courses.    


            In addition to charging fees for the unauthorized courses and sham certificates, ABDEL-SAYED encouraged students to use the certificates in obtaining employment in the health care field, including at New York City-area hospitals.  When asked by employment agencies to verify the authenticity of the certificates, ABDEL-SAYED falsely informed the agencies that the certificates were issued by Medgar Evers College.  In fact, ABDEL-SAYED created the sham certificates himself, and provided them to students even if the students did not attend his unauthorized courses, so long as the students paid ABDEL-SAYED for the certificates.  In addition, ABDEL-SAYED distributed copies of purported national certification examinations – which he informed students on a recorded conversation it was “illegal” for them to possess – in order to assist the students in passing licensing examinations supposedly administered by the State for certain medical techniques. 


            After ABDEL-SAYED became aware of the investigation, he instructed an undercover law enforcement investigator, who had posed as a student and purchased several unauthorized certificates from him, to provide false information to federal law enforcement agents and to conceal those certificates from the agents.       


*                *                *


            ABDEL-SAYED, 68, of Kearny, New Jersey, is charged with one count of conversion from a program receiving federal funds and one count of soliciting bribes, each of which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, and one count of wire fraud, one count of mail fraud, and one count of obstruction of justice, each of which carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.


The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by a judge.


            Mr. Kim praised the investigative work of the New York State Inspector General’s Office and ED-OIG. 


            The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Public Corruption Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Eli J. Mark is in charge of the prosecution.


            The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint and the description of the Complaint set forth below constitutes only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Updated September 29, 2017

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 17-315