MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - A former teacher pleaded guilty to his part in a scam where he helped aspiring teachers cheat on their certification exams.
John Bowen, 63, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, Social Security fraud and fraud in connection with identification documents. Bowen admitted he was paid by the scam's ringleader, Clarence Mumford, Sr., to take certification tests under other people's identities.
Mumford, Sr., his son Clarence Mumford, Jr., and Dante Dowers were charged in a 49-count indictment for fraud and aggravated identity theft for charging aspiring teachers in Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas $1,500 to $3,000 per test to have stand-ins take the Praxis certification for them. According to the indictment, the scam ran from 1995 to March 2010.
Bowen stated at his hearing he met Mumford, Sr. during the 1994-95 school year while he was a substitute teacher at Humes High School, where Mumford was the assistant principal. Bowen said he had three or four tests per year since 2000 and was paid hundreds of dollars for each test. Investigators eventually caught Bowen in 2009 when he took two tests under two identities on the same day at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. Other test takers hired by Mumford were also present at the time doing the same thing.
Investigators have not stated how many teachers obtained fraudulent teaching licenses as a result of this scam, nor have they released their identities.