Strippers Acted As Admission Representatives And Dressed Provocatively To Recruit Students For A Florida College, Claim Prosecutors

Alap Naik Desai - Author
By

Dec. 6 2014, Updated 8:01 a.m. ET

Quite a few for-profit colleges in the sunny state of Florida have employed questionable tactics to speed up their student recruitment drive, but one in particular took a page straight out of adult films, using strippers to lure undergrads, claimed prosecutors.

Apart from deploying techniques like non-stop phone calls, making too-good-to-be-true promises, and even offering $500 reward per referral, Miami-based FastTrain College stepped up quite a few notches to lure students to their colleges. According to a federal lawsuit, FastTrain hired strippers to act as “admission representatives” to lure students into joining their campus.

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These strippers, officially noted within the filing as “exotic dancers,” were primarily meant to attract male students, reported the Daily Mail. The college purposely hired attractive women and sometimes exotic dancers, encouraging them to dress provocatively while they recruited young men in neighborhoods to attend FastTrain, claimed the lawsuit.

The allegations come close on the heels of a pending whistle-blower lawsuit against FastTrain. Though the update has accused FastTrain, it fell short of identifying the precise campus of the educational institute where such practices took place. Incidentally, FastTrain closed shortly after being raided by the FBI in 2012. However, prior to being forcibly shut down, FastTrain operated seven campuses in Florida which included Miami-Dade, Broward, Hillsborough, Pinellas and Duval counties.

FastTrain’s CEO, Alejandro Amor of Coral Gables, was recently criminally indicted and currently faces charges of conspiracy and theft of government money, reported the Miami Herald. As expected, Amor has categorically denied all allegations.

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But between 2009 and mid-2012, FastTrain received more than $35 million in Pell grants and other federal financial aid. However, the lawsuit claims that this money was obtained through fraudulent means. FastTrain allegedly and routinely falsified high school diplomas for students who didn’t have one. Since these students did not graduate from high school, they should have never qualified for student aid in the first place, justified the lawsuit.

To lay claim over government aid, colleges need first-time students to attend classes for at least 30 days. However, FasTrain, apart from falsifying attendance records, actually pressured ineligible students they enrolled to attend classes for at least the first five days of the period. Additionally, in case students didn’t have transportation, seductive and sultry FastTrain admission representatives would pick them up.

Many of those students who have been allegedly duped by FastTrain are now struggling with student loan debts. Fortunately, the students who were attending around the time of the 2012 FBI raid can get their loans discharged under a “closed school” provision. But for others, it appears to be a long-drawn legal battle with mounting financial burden.

[Image Credit | Google Maps / Daily Mail]

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