While Sarah Ferguson may be the most recent celeb to get caught with her hand in the proverbial cookie jar, she’s not the first one to scam for a paycheck. What sets the Duchess of York apart from some other famous money-mongers is that she was actually trying to keep her scheme a secret. Too bad cameras were around to catch Fergie surreptitiously offer the British press some facetime with her ex-husband Prince Andrew for a price.
And, while MainStreet could wax poetic over whether or not simply being a celebrity counts as a swindle, we’ve tracked down some of the more concrete ways that the nation’s more popular citizens have cashed in.
You would think that those “attending” Trump University, the online financial school started by Donald Trump in 2005, would understand that they weren’t receiving an actual education. What Dean Donald, after all, is teaching (or preaching) is “success” in the broadest, most intangible sense of the word. Of course, if you consider the institution’s mission statement you may, understandably, become confused.
“Some educational resources have great content. Some have a smart and eclectic community of members,” the Web site states. “Some offer educational experiences you can immediately apply to the real world and yield results. We combine all three: Smart content. A thriving community. A learn by doing approach.”
This vagueness, perhaps, is what keeps the online university in session. It’s currently being sued by several former students who claim the endeavor is nothing more than a fraudulent infomercial. Those suing the university say the school’s seminars were more like advertisement for the Web site’s premium membership and that its one-year branded “Apprentice Program” was really just a three-day event that involved trips to Home Depot.