Fifth Test-Taker Pleads Guilty In Teacher Certification Cheating Scam
The original indictment in the case, filed in July 2012, charged Mumford Sr. with orchestrating a scheme that began as early as 1995 to pay test-takers to take teacher certification examinations on behalf of teachers and hopeful teachers. In August, a superceding indictment charged Dante Dowers, 40, of Belle Glade, Florida and Mumford Sr.’s son, Clarence Mumford Jr., 28, of Memphis. And in September, a second superceding indictment charged ten more individuals, including Samuel Campbell, 39, of Jackson, Mississippi; Darcel Gardner, 35, of Columbus, Mississippi; Steve Holmes, 53, of Memphis, Tennessee; Valerie Humphrey, 47, of Oakland, Tennessee; Carlo McClelland, 35, of Meridian, Mississippi; Jacklyn McKinnie, 44, of Memphis, Tennessee; Jadice Moore, 30, of Port Gibson, Mississippi; Sarah Richard, 54, of Richland, Mississippi; Jeryl Shaw, 40, of Memphis, Tennessee; and Kimberly Taylor, 36, of Charleston, Mississippi. Cedrick Wilson, 34, of Memphis, Tennessee, was charged in a separate indictment related to the scam in October 2012.
In previous guilty plea hearings, Bowen and Kellogg admitted being paid by Mumford to take numerous tests. Bowen admitted that after he met Mumford Sr. during the 1994-1995 school year – when Bowen was a substitute teacher and Mumford Sr. was the assistant principal at Humes Junior High School – he took at least three to four tests per year from 2000 to 2010. Kellogg admitted that after she met Mumford in May 2009, she took a number of tests over a one and a half year period and received approximately $4,000 from Mumford. Carlos Shaw, who was formerly an assistant principal at the Memphis Academy of Science and Engineering and also taught at Carver High School and Booker T. Washington High School, was first approached by Mumford Sr. approximately ten years ago and admitted taking approximately 10 to 15 tests for payments ranging from $200 to $700. Shantell Shaw admitted that she met Mumford at Trezevant High School in 2008 when she was a new teacher and Mumford, Sr. was her mentor, and that she took approximately 12 to 15 tests for total payments of approximately $8,000.
During Bowen’s guilty plea hearing, it was revealed that investigators began to unravel the ring after Bowen was caught in June 2009 at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro taking an afternoon examination in one man’s name after having taking a morning examination in a woman’s name. Other test-takers paid by Mumford Sr. were at the same test location on the same date doing the same thing. ETS investigated and later referred the case to the Tennessee Department of Education, which referred the case to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. After the investigation was brought to the United States Attorney's Office in the summer of 2011, the United States Secret Service also joined the investigation. Investigators interviewed dozens of individuals, and obtained bank, phone and testing records to identify participants in the scheme.
During Jeryl Shaw’s guilty plea hearing, Shaw admitted taking approximately three tests in the 2008-2009 time frame and admitted providing his driver’s license to Mumford via his wife, Shantell Shaw. Mumford used Jeryl Shaw’s driver’s license to create fake identification documents that enabled Jeryl Shaw to take tests on behalf of others. Jeryl Shaw has never been a teacher. He has a degree in polymer chemistry.
This investigation is being 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.