In our second diploma mill case this year, an applicant for a professional level position with one of our accounting firm clients claimed a bachelor of business administration degree from Bienville University in Baton Rouge, LA. Our research analyst quickly discovered that the university was shut down by state action several years ago, but subsequently began peddling degrees in Mississippi for $5,000 for the BS program and $7,500 for a master’s program (according to an Internet “rip-off” posting.) A colorful, official-looking Web site for Bienville University still can be found at http://www.3cdf.com/3rdwebs/bu3/menu/menu.html but its pages for various information categories are not active. An entry in the Wikipedia said that Bienville University was exposed as a diploma or degree mill in a 2003 report by KVBC News 3, as it was never recognized or approved by any accreditation agency of the US Department of Education.
And there is more…Bienville University’s founder, Thomas James Kirk II (also known as Thomas McPherson) was the operator of several other fraudulent higher education institutions (diploma mills), including the University of San Gabriel Valley, Southland University, and LaSalle University (Louisiana.) He was indicted for fraud in 1996 and, after a plea agreement, was sentenced to five years in a federal prison.