Two people were indicted by a federal grand jury and will appear in U.S. District Court in Colorado after helping people falsify education credentials and cheat on tests to become licensed massage therapists.
Yongbo Shen, also known as Kevin Shen, 48, is originally of China and currently from Massachusetts. He appeared in U.S. District Court in Colorado, and is due back on June 6, for arraignment.
Marla Daniels, age 50, of Oklahoma City was arrested in Oklahoma City and appeared in federal court there where she was released on bond. She is scheduled to make her initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Colorado on June 17.
Both have been charged with 36 counts of wire fraud and aiding and abetting along with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
According to the indictment, between February 16, 2015 and March 3, 2018, both defendants fraudulently obtained the Colorado state mandated certified test questions and answers.
With the help of others, Shen then translated the materials from English to Chinese, which essentially functioned as an unauthorized cheat sheet for the examination.
According to the indictment, as part of the scheme, Shen distributed the cheat sheet to multiple applicants in exchange for a fee.
Applicants were seeking to pass the standardized test in an effort to obtain massage therapy licensure in Colorado, and at times other states.
Cheat sheets allowed unqualified applicants to pass the test and provided applicants with an unfair competitive advantage over other persons taking the test.
As part of the scheme, Daniels and Shen also created and issued multiple bogus diplomas, which falsely certified that applicants graduated from the Majestic Massage Therapy school.
Shen worked with Daniels to help create and falsify course transcripts that claimed the applicants completed required course work in massage therapy.
Together, the false transcripts and bogus diplomas misrepresented that the applicants had successfully completed the requisite 500 hours of instruction and training from a massage therapy licensure program.
Shen submitted applications for massage therapy licenses to the State of Colorado Department of Regulatory Affairs on behalf of the applicants.
In the course of submitting the applications, Shen falsely certified to the State that the information contained within the applications was true and correct, when in fact, Shen knew the applications contained false information regarding the applicants’ educational qualifications and satisfactory completion of examination requirements.
If convicted of wire fraud, each defendant could face up to 20 years in federal prison, and pay up to a $250,000 fine per count.