Jessica M. Karmasek Jan. 17, 2013, 1:20pm

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Legal Newsline) -- Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway said Wednesday his office has filed a consumer protection lawsuit against Spencerian College over allegations that it misrepresented job placement numbers.

The for-profit college, owned by the Sullivan University System, has two campuses in the state -- one in Lexington and a second in Louisville.

The suit is the fourth of its kind Conway has filed as part of an ongoing investigation into the for-profit college industry.

The third, and most recent, was filed in 2011 against National College of Kentucky Inc.

The three-count complaint, which was filed in Fayette Circuit Court, alleged that National College -- which operates campuses in Lexington, Louisville, Florence, Pikeville, Richmond and Danville -- violated the state's Consumer Protection Act by making false, misleading and deceptive disclosures regarding the rate at which its students were able to obtain employment in their field of study.

Conway's newest complaint, filed in Jefferson Circuit Court, also alleges that Spencerian violated the CPA.

"Spencerian College provided students with information that it knew was false. The numbers substantially contradict data that it provided to its accreditors," Conway said. "I believe Spencerian College was more concerned about signing students up for classes and getting its hands on student loan money than educating students and placing them in jobs.

"The bottom line is they preyed on people who were trying to build better lives for their families in these tough economic times."

The attorney general's complaint details that since at least 2007 Spencerian reported placement rates to students via its website and by way of a published "interview book."

Spencerian represented that the rates, which in some cases were 100 percent, were the same it reported to its accreditor, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools.

However, the rates were significantly different -- sometimes with a differential of up to 40 percent, Conway said.

After Spencerian received a civil investigative demand from Conway's office, it removed the conflicting graduation placement rates from its website, the attorney general noted.

Conway's complaint seeks an injunction against Spencerian to prohibit further deceptive trade practices.

The suit also seeks civil penalties of $2,000 per violation and recovery of investigative costs and attorney's fees.

A copy of the 12-page complaint, along with various exhibits, can be seen here.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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