A former Federal Aviation Administration official billed the government $2,952 for two “diploma mill” degrees, a Transportation Department investigation found.
Richard Devereaux, who had worked for the FAA for 26 years, retired March 1 from his $60,700-a-year post, a month after the inquiry by the department’s inspector general’s office was completed.
Agency files, obtained by United Press International under the Freedom of Information Act, show that Devereaux earned the degrees between December, 1981, and June, 1982, while a full-time acting deputy director, the second-highest rank in the FAA’s Western-Pacific region.
The investigators found records that Devereaux completed 264 hours of class work at Golden State University, an unaccredited college in San Marcos, Calif., primarily by listening to tapes on his car cassette player. Devereaux said he filled out workbooks and mailed them in to be graded.
Investigators concluded that Devereaux had violated federal law by filing false claims against the government, but the U.S. Attorney’s office in Los Angeles refused to prosecute and insisted that the FAA move to recover the funds, the files show.
In Washington, FAA spokesman Fred Farrar said that the agency made no attempt to recover the money because Devereaux had retired and the cost of collection would have exceeded the amount.
Devereaux could not be reached for comment, but files show that he told the investigators he had done nothing wrong and would not willingly repay the government.