MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis man has been indicted on federal charges that he was paid thousands of dollars by aspiring teachers in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi to have other people take their teacher licensing exams.
The federal indictment released yesterday said 58-year-old Clarence Mumford hired a group of test takers, including Memphis City Schools employees or former employees, and used false documents during licensing exams in the three states.
The Commercial Appeal reported the test takers were only identified by their initials in the 45-count indictment against Mumford alleging conspiracy to defraud the United States, document fraud and wire fraud.
The indictment said the scheme ran from 1995 to 2010, but it was not clear how many people paid to have someone else take the exams.
According to indictment, Mumford would get between $1,500 and $3,000 to arrange for test takers to falsely identify themselves as those registered for the PRAXIS examinations, which are administered under the Educational Testing Services. These exams are required in those three states for people to obtain new teaching licenses or for current teachers to obtain subject-specific endorsements on existing licenses.
Mumford would use information from driver’s licenses and Social Security numbers to create bogus documents used by the test takers.
“Mumford has created an atmosphere in which teachers who are not only unqualified, but who have also gained credentials by fraud, stand in front of our children every day,’ said U.S. Attorney Edward L. Stanton III in a statement about the indictment. “Mumford’s conduct has done harm to the systems in which unqualified teachers have been able to teach, to the individual schools, to qualified individuals who could have obtained jobs filled by unqualified teachers, and, ultimately, to a generation of our schoolchildren.”