Grade fraud suspect taken into custody
December 6, 2007 9:50 AM
An alleged ringleader in the Diablo Valley College cash-for-grades scandal surrendered to authorities this morning in Contra Costa County Superior Court after failing to appear at a scheduled court date Monday.
Liberato “Rocky” Servo, who police were searching for after he failed to turn himself in, was taken into custody this morning but did not enter any pleas, prosecutor Dodie Katague said via e-mail. Servo, who is facing 19 felony counts, was appointed a public defender and will appear in court on Dec. 13, Katague said. His bail was set at $75,000 by Judge Charles Burch.
Prosecutors said Servo, a former student worker in the DVC Admission’s Office, recruited and trained Julian Revilleza, another key figure in the case who accepted a deal from prosecutors and helped Katague file charges against Servo and fourteen others who were implicated in a complaint filed Nov. 29.
Servo, the complaint said, continued referring clients and sending grade change requests to Revilleza after he left DVC. The 28-year-old changed three of his girlfriend Amani Ibrahim’s grades, helping her gain admittance to SF State. Ibrahim, a 2003 DVC graduate, was barred from the university last August after SF State received her corrected transcript from DVC. Katague said Ibrahim was on his list of suspects in August but he said he did not have enough evidence o file charges against her until now.
Ibrahim, who has yet to surrender to police, is one of eight students whose transcripts the university has put on hold due to their involvement with the scandal. Jo Volkert, the executive director of Admissions, said the students, who university officials have refused to name, will not be allowed to enroll in classes at SF State in the future.
Three of the 15 named last week were arraigned Friday and arrest warrants have been issued for the remaining students, Katague said today.
The district attorney also said he expects to file charges against four students from Los Medanos College, DVC’s sister school located in Pittsburg, later this week.
Charges were filed against 34 students in late July, which included Revilleza and three other student workers at DVC. Revilleza accepted a plea bargain in September and will serve one year in county jail. His childhood friend and fellow DVC employee Jeremy Tato plead no contest to the charges he faced and is also working with prosecutors and Contra Costa Community College district officials.
The conspiracy begun in 2000 and surfaced in January of 2006 when a DVC instructor noticed a student of his, Erick Martinez, kept reappearing on his class roster. After several attempts to drop Martinez, who also worked in the DVC Admission’s Office, the instructor notified DVC officials and district police. More than 400 grades are believed to have been changed over the six-year span.
DVC graduates have used their phony transcripts to transfer to universities like UC Berkeley, UCLA, Cal State East Bay, UC Riverside, and UC Davis. DVC is the second largest community college feeder school to SF State behind City College of San Francisco. The Pleasant Hill campus sent 334 students to SF State after the spring 2006 semester, according to a report on transfer pathways by the California Postsecondary Education Commission.
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