Bryan Cohen Nov. 22, 2013, 7:30pm

BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley filed a lawsuit Thursday against a former for-profit school that allegedly closed abruptly in January and engaged in deceptive schemes to maximize profit.

American Career Institute allegedly falsified student signatures, grades, attendance and enrollment records to receive government-funded student loan proceeds and failed to give students the training and course material for which they incurred tens of thousands of dollars in debt. ACI also allegedly failed to disclose that students with criminal background could be ineligible for employment in their field of study and enrolled students who did not meet minimum education requirements.

"We allege this for-profit school sacrificed the wellbeing of its students for financial gain by falsifying documents," Coakley said. "As a result, hundreds of former students are now left with debt and without the skills they need for a promising career."

The lawsuit, which also names ABC Training Center of Maryland Inc., Advanced Career Technologies Inc. and The Career Institute LLC, seeks restitution for affected students, injunctive relief to prevent harm arising from unfair or deceptive practices, attorney fees and civil penalties.

Coakley also filed proposed amendments on Thursday to existing regulations to more effectively protect students from potentially deceptive or unfair practices. The regulations would require all occupational and for-profit schools in Massachusetts to prohibit misleading advertising practices, provide accurate information to the public and address unfair lending practices.

"Students are going further and further into debt, and these regulations will help protect them from high pressure sales tactics and ensure they are getting the benefits that the school has promised," Coakley said. "Prospective students should at least have the most complete and accurate information possible when they are making their decisions."


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