Miami for-profit college operator Alejandro Amor had a 54-foot yacht, a $2 million waterfront home, and his own private plane.
Now he’s headed to prison.
On Tuesday, a Miami federal jury convicted Amor of 12 counts of theft of government money, and one count of conspiracy. He will be sentenced on Feb. 3.
Before being raided by the FBI in 2012, prosecutors say FastTrain admitted roughly 1,300 students who didn’t have high school diplomas — using fraud to make the government think the students were eligible for financial aid.
In return, FastTrain received $6,560,000 in Pell grants and student loans for those students. For-profit colleges are known for aggressive recruiting, but FastTrain turned it up a notch. Ex-employees told investigators that Amor boosted enrollments by hiring former strippers as recruiters, some of whom wore “short skirts and stiletto heels” to work.
Amor allegedly told one employee to “hire some hot mommas” and “hire the sluttiest girls he could find.”
When it came to high school diplomas, FastTrain took advantage of lax federal rules that are vulnerable to abuse. A college that wants to enroll non-eligible students can accept diplomas from a “diploma mill” school — and there is no federal or state of Florida list that identifies known diploma mills.
Some accreditors allow their colleges to simply take a student’s word that they finished high school. The student signs an “attestation” that they have a diploma, and no further verification is done.