• Couple charged in alleged fake diploma scheme

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    GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - Students who got fake diplomas for their GED are reacting now that charges are filed against the school's owners.
               
    Police began investigating the school in Norcross after Channel 2's Amy Napier Viteri uncovered the complaints.
     
    Police have warrants for Stanley and Yessica Jean, the couple who runs the school. They're facing fraud and theft charges and police believe they may have been doing this for around a decade.
     
    “And they issued them their diplomas and everybody's applauding and their family's there. It’s horrible,” said Gwinnett County Police Detective Nermin Cultarevic.
     
    Cultarevic showed Channel 2 pictures of graduates, some posing with their entire families. He says on average people paid $3,000 for GEDs and medical assistant degrees they had no idea weren't valid.  For many, the diploma was a requirement for immigration applications, which were denied. 
     
    “I was like, no I can't believe it. I couldn't believe it when they told me,” said victim Garumi Cabanas.
     
    A group of women told Viteri they paid $2,000 for their GED course. Police have files and receipts for 200 victims and think there are up to 800. The Jeans used the name, New Life Technical Academy, an actual accredited school in south Fulton, but police say the Jean's school has no affiliation or accreditation.

    Police believe the couple knew what they were doing.
     
    “Absolutely; They even went one step forward; they intimidated these people,” Cultarevic said.
     
    Police say the Jean's targeted Hispanic immigrants and would threaten them with jail if they called police. After Channel 2’s initial story in November, Stanley Jean tried to discourage people from calling police. 
     
    “If you cause so much noise with this no one will be able to help you.  This is just going to destroy even more the community,” he said.
     
    “It’s kind of bad. I mean we have dreams to do here,” one victim said.
     
    “They just took my money - everybody's money,” added another victim.
     
    Police say the couple is charged with theft and fraud for each victim, so that's hundreds of counts. The investigation is ongoing.


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