The United States Department of Justice indicted Moshe Porat, the former dean of Temple University’s Fox School of Business, for his alleged role in falsifying Fox’s rankings submissions to U.S. News and World Report.
In the indictment unsealed Friday, Porat was charged with federal conspiracy and fraud, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Isaac Gottlieb, a former Fox professor, and Marjorie O’Neill, who oversaw Fox’s submissions to U.S. News and World Report, were also charged Friday for their alleged roles in misreporting the rankings data submissions.
“We are disappointed that, after cooperating with the government in its investigation, the United States Attorney’s Office decided to bring these charges, which Dr. Porat vigorously denies,” wrote Michael Schwartz, Porat’s attorney, in an email to The Temple News.
Gottlieb did not immediately respond to a request for comment. O’Neill’s contact information was not immediately available.
The U.S. Department of Justice declined to comment on its decision to indict Porat.
The U.S Department of Justice expressed its intention to indict Porat in March, The Temple News reported.
Jones Day, an independent law firm Temple hired to investigate the rankings misreporting, found that Fox administrators knowingly misreported data on graduate standardized test scores, undergraduate students’ GPAs, its number of offers to applicants and amount of students’ debts in its submissions to U.S. News and World Report’s annual college ranking list from 2014 through 2018, The Temple News reported.
“We are aware of the indictments of Moshe Porat and others by the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania,” wrote Raymond Betzner, a spokesperson for the university, in an email to The Temple News. “We cannot comment on the substance of the criminal investigation or the related charges, except to say that the university will continue to cooperate with the appropriate law enforcement agencies regarding this matter.”
Fox’s online Master of Business Administration program was ranked the best in the nation from 2014 through 2017 as a result of the school’s falsified data submissions. After learning about these falsified data submissions in 2018, U.S. News and World Report stripped Fox of its title and did not include the school’s online Master of Business Administration program in its rankings that year, The Temple News reported.
President Richard Englert asked Porat to resign from his position as Fox dean on July 9, 2018, The Temple News reported.
Porat filed a defamation lawsuit against Temple in May 2019 for $25 million, alleging the university damaged his reputation and health by making him a “scapegoat” for the rankings scandal, The Temple News reported. Porat sought to temporarily suspend his lawsuit in March after the federal government expressed their intention to indict him, The Temple News reported.
Temple agreed to pay $700,000 to the U.S. Department of Education in December 2020 to settle claims regarding the misreported data, The Temple News reported.
The university has implemented “broad-sweeping corrective measures” since Porat’s resignation to address the misreported data, like creating an internal unit to verify Temple’s data submissions, retaining a third-party auditor for Temple’s data submissions and establishing online and telephone hotlines for people to report malfeasance, Betzner wrote.