Clarence Mumford, 58, from Memphis has been indicted on 45 counts of conspiracy to violate US law. The charges arise from a teacher certification scam involving at least 50 teachers and would-be teachers in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee.
Edward L. Stanton, the US Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, says that Mumford acted as a middleman between aspiring teachers who were desperate to pass the PRAXIS examinations to gain a teaching license and people who would take the test fraudulently on behalf of the aspiring teachers to guarantee the pass.
Mumford was allegedly performing this service for 15 years between 1995 and 2010.
Mumford is accused of charging teachers and aspiring teachers between $1,500 and $3,000 per test. As part of the operation, Mumford would get the teachers' identifications, as well as I.D. from the people actually taking the tests. He made fake I.D.'s that were used by the test-takers to gain admission into the exams.
While Mumford's scam sounds a lot like the plot of a television show, Stanton points out the seriousness of the accusations and the consequences of Mumford's actions.
"In an area that should be sacrosanct – the education of our children – 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 in a written statement. "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."
The investigation into Mumford's scheme was conducted by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the United States Secret Service. Mumford was formerly an assistant principal at Humes Junior High School in North Memphis and receives retirement from Memphis City Schools. He is currently a counselor in Hughes, Arizona. The charges against him consist of mail fraud, wire fraud, social security fraud, aggravated identity theft, and fraud in connection with identification documents.
This isn't the first time Mumford has been in trouble with the law. In 1996 he was subject to a criminal complaint from a child's parents who alleged he had injured their child while paddling them. Mumford was suspended by MCS from April 1997 to February 1999.