CT Man Had Multi-Million Dollar Business Selling Fake College Degrees

Authorities say James Enowitch pocketed more than $700,000 off the international scheme.

Patch File Photo
Patch File Photo
There are apparently $5 million worth of college degrees out there that have absolutely no value.

That's because they're fake.

According to federal authorities, they were the work of a 48-year-old Connecticut man who made more than $700,000 off the international scheme.

The man, James Enowitch, of Cromwell, pleaded guilty May 8 to mail fraud and aiding and abetting mail fraud, in connection with the operation of a number of fraudulent diploma mills, according to United States Attorney Zane David Memeger. 

Here's how the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Eastern Pennsylvania describes the alleged scheme:

As early as 2003, Enowitch began operating a diploma mill, through which he advertised and sold diplomas for a fee, requiring no course work for those “diplomas.”

Enowitch and his alleged co-schemer ultimately operated at least seven different websites, through which they sold fraudulent degrees in the name of Redding University, Suffield University Glendale University, Greenwood University, and Bryson University. Those purported universities were actually diploma mills in that they had no faculty, offered no academic curricula or services, required no course or class work, and were not recognized by the United States Department of Education. 

Part of the scheme to which Enowitch pleaded guilty was a fraudulent accrediting body, called the “National Distance Learning Accreditation Council” (“NDLAC”), used to claim, falsely, that the diploma mills were “nationally accredited.”  

Enowitch admitted that he and others created phony transcripts stating that the purchaser had taken courses that the purchaser had never taken; allowed purchasers to create their own transcripts and backdate degrees; and provided fraudulent verification services to back up the fake degrees, in case an employer or other party sought verification.

The degree packages ranged in price from $475 to $550 for associates, bachelors, masters, and doctoral-level degrees, with a “multi-degree discount” for buying more than one. For an additional fee, purchasers could also allegedly select grades for the phony courses included in their transcripts.          

Between 2003 and 2012, Enowitch allegedly sold $5 million worth of fake degrees throughout the world. 

He now faces a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine, a $100 special assessment, and an order of forfeiture.            

chuck May 10, 2014 at 09:56 AM
Does the School of Rock count?
OpportunistWatch May 12, 2014 at 11:59 AM
I think paying for someone to take the SAT's for you to get into a college in other words "cheating" on SAT's is far worse. This is wide spread in Long Island and is regularly punished with a slap on the wrist and the students who cheated usually have mother's or fathers who are prominent in the community. .........................................................................................Case in point: Samuel Eshaghoff, a 2010 Great Neck North graduate, scored in the 2,100 range (out of 2,400) on his own SATs; he is accused of taking tests for at least 15 people over three years, and the people briefed on the inquiry said he obtained scores for them between 2,170 and 2,220 on the SAT and as high as 33 out of 36 on the ACT. He was proficient at making fake identification cards, they said, and allowed clients to pay in installments and based on what they could afford.Mr. Eshaghoff, whose mother is a lawyer and president of the Great Neck Library Board, became known around Great Neck North for having done well on the SAT and being willing to cheat on that exam as well as school tests — for a price, students and people involved in the investigation said. Prosecutors said he even flew home from college last year to take the SAT for two students in one weekend, exploiting the Sunday proctoring usually reserved for students with religious conflicts. The others accused of test-taking for money, who have also pleaded not guilty, are Adam Justin, whose father, David, is a former president of a local synagogue and part of a prominent real estate family. I wonder why these Long Island adults didn't face the same charges as this fraudster of fake diploma's. I wonder if the parents had anything to do with these adults getting off with probation.
Philip May 13, 2014 at 07:09 AM
Now to track down the low lifes who bought these diplomas
Daniella Ruiz May 13, 2014 at 04:44 PM
From good old connecticut, land of the wooden nutmegs and just plain old nut cases!___ Seeing as he was so able to evade the homeland security details (so intent on whisking 20 year old mexheekan's back to their original homeland after being carried into the country at age 1), i will offer another perspective. We now have hundreds of Ct Public service employees (protected behind the facade of union reps) who now participate in the biggest fraud of our time, bloated and excessive taxpayer paid pensions. Far beyond the paltry $700,000 he skimmed from the thousands who paid maybe $100.00 for some crude forgery, these 'legal' CT frauds will suck the economic life from education funds for thousand of future (NON ILLEGAL) children. This guy is but a 'small potatoe' in the farmland of egregious state sponsored malfeasance toward its' hard working civvy's! (""we don't need no stinking deeplomas!"") "
Josh Salthouse June 13, 2014 at 04:25 PM
This is interesting. I wonder if the people who bought these degrees know that he's been caught. I did a quick search on LinkedIn and found 82 people that "attended" Bryson University.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »