Ohio Man Receives Five Year Sentence In Phony Diploma Case.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) _ The last of four defendants convicted of running a diploma mill that awarded 2,000 phony degrees was sentenced to five years in prison Monday for mail and wire fraud.
Anthony James Geruntino of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert Potter.
Geruntino had pleaded guilty May 22 along with three other men to fraud charges in connection with 22 phony schools that sold more than $2 million worth of diplomas from 1974 to 1984, officials said.
Also pleading guilty May 22 were James Robert Caffey of Springfield, Mo., Larry Edward Pfalzgraf of Pickerington, Ohio, and Donald George Minnich of Sedonna, Ariz. Caffey was sentenced the same day to a five-year prison sentence, while Pfalzgraf and Minnich were each given one-year, one-day suspended sentences, fined $1,000 and placed on probation.
The indictments resulted from a nationwide FBI investigation called ″Dipscam″ that began in 1980.
FBI interview reports showed that diploma buyers included officials at the Pentagon, the White House and the Veterans Administration. Other FBI reports outlined interviews with diploma purchasers in state, county, medical, educational and business positions.
Fake diplomas were sold to people in 27 states and several foreign countries, Ezell testified.