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California’s attorney general on Thursday filed a broad lawsuit against a for-profit college company, accusing it among other things of advertising radiology-related courses that it actually doesn’t offer.

The lawsuit targets Corinthian Colleges Inc. (CCI), based in Santa Ana, California. The company’s Web site says it operates more than 111 U.S. and Canadian campuses with more than 81,300 students. “Our campuses offer short-term diploma and/or degree programs in a variety of popular career fields,” the site says.

One problem, according to California Attorney General Kamala Harris: Despite what the company’s ads say, it doesn’t actually offer some of those programs. A news release from the attorney general says this:

The complaint further alleges that CCI runs millions of online and mobile ads offering ultrasound, X-ray, radiology, and dialysis programs at their California campuses—when, in fact, CCI does not offer those programs.

The release continues: “CCI’s call center agents are disciplined if they tell callers that CCI does not offer these programs.”

The lawsuit says Corinthian “intentionally targeted low-income, vulnerable Californians through deceptive and false advertisements and aggressive marketing campaigns that misrepresented job placement rates and school programs.” The news release said the company advertised job placement rates as high as 100 percent for some programs “when, in some cases, there is no evidence that a single student obtained a job during the specified time frame.”

The lawsuit also says the company committed securities fraud when it falsely told investors its nationwide job placement rate was 68.1 percent. The suit says that in at least one instance, two of the company’s campuses paid a temporary employment agency to place students in order to inflate placement percentages.

In response, according to the Sacramento Bee, Corinthian issued a news release saying that it was “disappointed” to learn of the lawsuit and had been “cooperating extensively” with the attorney general’s office over the past nine months. (The release is not posted on the Corinthian Web site.)

“We are committed to regulatory compliance,” the release says, “and have robust processes in place to correctly record and disclose the job placement information we receive from our graduates and their employers.”

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Related CME seminar (up to 42.5 AMA PRA Category 1 credits™): UCSF Radiology Review: COMPREHENSIVE IMAGING


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