A longtime Memphis educator accused of leading a 15-year scheme to help teachers cheat on qualification exams has changed his plea to guilty a week after he rejected a deal from prosecutors.
Clarence Mumford Sr. told a federal judge Jan. 25 that he wanted to go to trial on more than 60 fraud and conspiracy charges, even though his lawyer had recommended accepting the deal.
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Prosecutor John Fabian said Friday in U.S. District Court that Mumford is pleading guilty one count of conspiracy to commit wire, identification and Social Security fraud and one charge of aggravated identity theft.
Prosecutors say teachers in Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas paid Mumford to hire test-takers to pass the exams for them. The teachers then used the passing Praxis test scores to get school jobs.
In addition to Mumford's guilty plea, U.S. Attorney Stanton also announced that the following
individuals, all of whom had tests taken for them during the scheme, have entered into diversion agreements with the government admitting to their involvement:
The diversion agreements bar these individuals from teaching for five years, regardless of whether they obtain valid teaching certificates based on their own scores, or whether they have already done so. These individuals have also signed five-year statute of limitations waivers, so that if they attempt obtain a teaching job within five years they will be prosecuted. In addition, the agreements require restitution from the individuals who obtained teaching licenses and positions as a result of tests arranged by Mumford.
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