For-profit college to pay $700,000 fine for falsifying records

United States University altered documents so students could get Pell grants

United States University has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $686,720, according to the U.S. Attorney's office. The school's former financial aid director, Christina Miller, pleaded guilty to falsifying loan applications so students could get Pell grants from the U.S. Department of Education. Miller will be sentenced June 27. The school, with a campus in Chula Vista, was known as InterAmerican University from 1997 to 2010, when it changed its name to United States University. It offers courses in nursing and other programs.

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A school like that should also be fined for giving itself such a grandiose name. It echoes the former United States International University which was also a most disappointing operation. Of course, in that case, it went as far as to offer doctorates, notably in education, that were used to promote careers and draw more pay for public school teachers and administrators. And then there was U S National Bank, C. Arnholt Smith's house of cards. Plenty of ordinary folks thought it was some instrumentality of the U. S. government, and thus patronized it for that reason. What's in a name? Plenty.

Visduh: In one sense, Smith's United States National Bank name had some meaning, although unintended. In its early days, Smith endeared himself to federal bank regulators by buying troubled banks. That was one reason Smith's bank was a shaky one, although the major reason was that Smith was making excessive loans to those close to him, and to entities in which he was involved. The percentage of such insider loans widely exceeded regulatory levels. As the government said, Smith's operation was a riot of self-dealing. Best, Don Bauder

Don Bauder But think about it. Had Smith not done his dirty deeds, it's very possible, if not likely, that he would never have been able to buy the PCL Padres, and therefore never getting the MLB expansion SD Padres. One can only imagine the sad state of affairs in San Diego had the MLB Padres not come to town. LOL

tomjohnston: And if the banking regulators had acted sooner, Smith might not have built the Westgate hotel, helped Vegas mobsters finance La Costa, etc. Best, Don Bauder

See, wouldn't the city have been immeasurably worse off for not having the Westgate Hotel ("the house that Helen built"), and no Padres? Why all this glorious weather we have would be only shades of gray but for the munificence of C Arnholt Smith.

Visduh Don't forget about Jack Murphy. I have always read that he was the one who convinced Baron Hilton to move the Chargers to San Diego. Imagine a san Diego with no Padres AND no Chargers. The shades of gray would have been much, much darker. LOL

tomjohnston: Yes, Jack Murphy, then sports columnist for the Union, convinced Hilton to move the Chargers to San Diego. Murphy also put together a slush fund, made up of clandestine contributions from local business executives, to pay Don Coryell under the table so he would stay at San Diego State. Best, Don Bauder

Which is why he and his dog have a statue. To recognize his ability to influence his readers in the direction the money men wanted things to go. Thank God for Jim Murray!! LOL

tomjohnston: My office was only two down from Jack Murphy's, and I always liked him. However, he died before I got to know him very well. Best, Don Bauder

Visduh: Yes, and remember that San Diego was run by C. Arnholt Smith and John Alessio, both of whom wound up in incarceration. Some say the third great power was Jim Copley. Best, Don Bauder

So I guess the Sand Diego of today is no different than the San Diego of back then?? Is that your intended meaning?? LOL

tomjohnston: The major difference between San Diego in the Smith-Alessio-Jim Copley days and the San Diego of today is that these days, there are more than three people pulling the strings in the city. And now, there is a mayor who wants to break the downtown overlords' stranglehold. Best, Don Bauder

Don Bauder FYI. LOL (laughing out loud) usually denotes some type of humor, in this case sarcasm. Am I safe in assuming that your reference to banking regulators acting sooner is also sarcasm? LOL

tomjohnston: At the height of Smith's clout in Washington D.C., a banking regulator reported to his superiors that Smith's U.S. National Bank was in deep doo-doo. The banking regulator was transferred to Alaska. Best, Don Bauder

Don Bauder Again, note the LOL. More sarcastic humor. The question was purely rhetorical. Isn't the phrase banking regulator kind of an oxymoron. I mean , we all know banks do what they want, despite regulations. and for sure we all know that banking regulators don't act...they react. LOL x2

tomjohnston: You are right again. The words "banking regulator" constitute in many respects an oxymoron. Wall Street almost drove us into the abyss in the 2008/2009 debacle, got $13 trillion in bailouts, got surreptitious immunity from prosecution, got their lobbyists to water down already-pusillanimous Dodd-Frank legislation, got the Federal Reserve to hand them money for nothing, and are doing more gambling now than ever. And they are doing much of their gambling with that money which the Fed pays them to take, in inflation-adjusted terms. Best, Don Bauder

It is a shame that no one in the industry such as campus directors oversee what a financial aid director does and make sure she or he is in compliance at all times and not falsifying files. This is karma as i see it, i worked under christina miller at the university she worked at after and she was a complete tyrant and i know she was falsifying files at the place we were at as well. Being someone who takes pride in what i do in financial aid and being a student as well. It is a shame to see financial aid directors like this, but she got what she deserves and she should be placed behind bars!! The rest of us get a bad wrap in the financial aid industry because of people like her. You should process a students file with pride and integrity

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