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Coakley sues Brockton school for alleged deceptive ads

The Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley is suing Sullivan & Cogliano Training Centers Inc. over allegations that the Brockton-based for-profit school has misled students with deceptive ads that suggest that school graduates had great success in landing jobs.

An attempt to reach Sullivan & Cogliano was not immediately successful.

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The complaint was filed today in Plymouth County Superior Court.

“We allege Sullivan & Cogliano deceived students by promising careers in the medical field with misleading ads and inflated placement rates,” Coakley said in a statement. “We are conducting an extensive investigation into the for-profit school industry. For-profit schools are extremely expensive and heavily funded through federal student loans, so all taxpayers have a stake in this. If students do not receive these promised jobs and wind up in default, the students and taxpayers suffer the consequence while the schools continue to profit.”

Coakley’s complaint alleges that in recruitment documents, ads, and enrollment documents, Sullivan & Cogliano claimed that between 70 and 100 percent of graduates received jobs in a medical office. But according to Coakley’s office, the school was counting jobs in fast food and big box stores toward its placement percentages. Coakley said its investigation found that less than 25 percent of graduates found work in the medical field.

Another finding from the attorney general’s investigation: Of the 183 students that took part in Sullivan & Cogliano’s “Medical Office Assistant” program, 22 got jobs in medical offices. Those students paid on average $14,000 in tuition, often using federal loans.

“Most students did not find work that paid well enough to pay off their debts,” Coakley’s release said.

Chris Reidy can be reached at reidy@globe.com.
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