Diploma Mill Ringleader Gets Maximum Sentence

SPOKANE -- Dixie Randock, the mastermind of a Spokane based phony diploma racket, has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Three years was the maximum sentence that could have been imposed on Randock. She, along with her husband Steve and their daughter Heidi Lorhan pled guilty to to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud charges in March of this year

All three were being sentenced in a Spokane court Wednesday. Lorhan received a one-year prison term while Steve's fate was being decided later Wednesday afternoon.

Another employee, Roberta Markishtum, was also sentenced during the proceedings. She was the last member of the racket to plead guilty, admitting fault to a lesser charge late in March. She was sentenced to four months in jail.

Prosecutors say the Randock family, along with associates, raked in more than $6 million while hawking phony diplomas for universities that don't exist. Operating out of their home in Mead and various businesses throughout the area, some 8200 bogus degrees were mailed from Spokane to customers around the world.

The diploma mill operators most notably invented St. Regis University, showing pictures of Winston Churchill's childhood home as the alleged campus and bribing Liberian officials for accreditation.

Numerous others have been found guilty for their involvement in the ring. Wednesday marks the end of the road for the racket's major players, however a few court proceedings will still be required to bring the matter to a close for some lesser involved people.