White-Collar Crime

Ex-Law Dean at Kaplan Gets 1 Year for Sending Threatening Internet Messages

A former law dean at Kaplan Inc. has been sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison for sending threatening messages concerning the online educational institution and its chief executive officer.

Bennie Wilcox, 45, maintained that he did not send the 2007 emails and Internet postings at issue in the criminal case and argued that he had been framed for filing a whistle-blower suit against Kaplan, Bloomberg reported.

“My major problem is the fact that upon being confronted with the actions you took, there was never a genuine acceptance of responsibility,” said U.S. District Judge Blanche Manning when she sentenced him yesterday. He had faced a maximum term of 18 years.

Hired in 2005 as a Kaplan University dean of law and legal studies and fired the following year, Wilcox joined with two other plaintiffs in filing a federal suit in Tampa, Fla., against the university and Kaplan Higher Education Corp. It contends the defendants received student loan money under false pretenses.

The whistle-blower case has not yet been resolved. The Kaplan defendants say they have done nothing wrong.

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