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Florida Couple Indicted for Involvement in Scheme to Steal and Sell State Teacher Certification Exams

pexels-andrea-piacquadio-3768172-300x200An Estero couple who runs a local tutoring business have been indicted in a conspiracy scheme accusing them of attempting to defraud the Florida’s teacher testing and certification process.

Kathleen M. Jasper, 42, and Jeremy M. Jasper, 40, both of Estero, are charged with racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, 108 counts of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit theft of trade secrets, and three counts of theft of trade secrets. The press did not name an attorney for them.

According to the indictment, the Jaspers are the owners of NavaEd, a business that offers tutoring and training to prepare prospective teachers to pass the Florida Teacher Certification Examinations (FTCE) and the Florida Educational Leadership Exam (FELE). The company also reportedly offers training books for sale worldwide through its website and third-party vendors like Shopify and Amazon.

The indictment claims the Jaspers “fraudulently accessed the questions and answers to Florida’s teacher certification examination” when they took the FTCE and FELE multiple times—even after having already passed—in order to memorize as many questions as possible. They also allegedly directed their employees and contractors to take the exams for the same purpose. The Jaspers then sold the questions and answers to teachers trying to get certified to teach in school districts in Florida and other states. They purportedly shared test content with their clients through email, messaging applications, phone, and video conferencing.

The Jaspers are further accused of republishing test content “verbatim and almost verbatim” in NavaEd books and materials meant to prepare teachers and school administrators for the certification exams. These books and other test preparation materials were used in training seminars and tutoring sessions, the indictment claims.

The indictment alleges that the Jaspers and their employees committed multiple acts of wire fraud every time they falsely agreed to testing rules and regulations, including a non-disclosure agreement, when they registered to take the FELE or FTCE.

“By saying falsely that they will follow those terms and conditions and not share the information with anybody, that is the fraudulent misrepresentation. That’s the lie that we’ve alleged in the indictment,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin Keen, who is the lead prosecutor of the case.

“This alleged scheme represents an insult to the vast majority of Florida’s public school teachers and administrators who studied and worked hard the right way to become certified in their profession because it provided an illegal and unethical shortcut for others,” said U.S. Attorney Lawrence Keefe. “The profiteering scheme alleged in this indictment strikes at the very heart of public education by undermining the credibility of important licensing exams that help ensure the very best for our children.”

Even though a “significant” number of educators have been touched by the alleged cheating scandal, Keefe told the press that the incident shouldn’t place a “cloud on the competency and or integrity” of Florida’s teachers and principals.

The Jaspers were arraigned in Tallahassee court on December 11, 2020. If convicted, they face up to 20 years in prison for the racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and each count of wire fraud. They also face up to 10 years in prison for conspiracy to commit theft of trade secrets and each count of theft of trade secrets, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

South Florida Fraud Defense Attorney

Are you accused of committing fraud in South Florida? Contact Brian Silber, P.A. to set up a free initial consultation with one of South Florida’s most experienced fraud defense attorneys.

Source: 12.11.20 Indictment disrupts fraud scheme to steal and sell state certification exams.pdf

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