Former visiting assistant professor of political science Bernard Moore, who was dismissed from the College last November after pleading guilty to fraud in excess of $820,000, has been sentenced to 50 months in prison and ordered to pay full restitution, totaling more than $760,000, to all victims in the case. On July 30, Moore also filed a lawsuit against EphBlog, citing an “invasion of plaintiff’s right to privacy, and defamatory and libelous statements made … on several web pages concerning the plaintiff.” Moore is seeking a total of $2,500,000 in compensatory and punitive damages from EphBlog and its founder, David Kane ’88.
The College played no part in Moore’s sentencing in Washington, D.C. on Thursday. Jim Kolesar, assistant to the president for Public Affairs, only learned of Moore’s sentence when it was published in The Washington Post on Friday morning.
“It’s another chapter in a long, sad story,” Kolesar said.
Last November, Moore pleaded guilty to one count each of student aid fraud, bank fraud and Social Security representative fraud. Starting in 1985, Moore used a number of fake aliases to borrow money to attend the University of Southern California and earn a master’s degree from Claremont Graduate University and a doctoral degree from Howard University. Moore also opened 90 credit card accounts around the country under fake aliases, running up $503,000 in purchases and leaving an unpaid balance of $469,000. Finally, Moore collected $13,257 in Social Security disability payments in an associate’s name.
Moore’s new lawsuit against EphBlog, an unofficial blog about the College started by Kane, accuses the website and Kane of two counts of invading Moore’s right to privacy and one count of defamation/libel. Moore claims that in several posts on the site, Kane described private details of Moore’s life and used a copyrighted picture of Moore without his consent.
In addition, Moore claims that Kane wrote false allegations about him, citing one post in particular: “First, by most accounts we have seen, [Moore] is a horrible professor, giving everyone in the class A’s, while not reading their work nor providing feedback. Second, he has produced no meaningful academic research of any sort … He is not fit to enter a Williams classroom.”
Kane and EphBlog’s official answer to Moore’s complaints can be found on the website’s Sept. 27 post, “Answer filed in Moore v. EphBlog.” EphBlog denies all of Moore’s claims, maintaining that it had the right to post all pertinent information. The College has not been involved in the developing lawsuit.
Moore was offered a position as assistant professor of political science at the College in January 2009, to officially start in July 2009.
According to the court’s memorandum in aid of Moore’s sentencing, during the six-month period from May 2009 to November 2009, Moore charged more than $15,000 in expenses on his Williams Purchasing Card, which is only intended to be used for business expenses.
Many of his purchases were unsupported by receipts, and some were used for questionable or unallowable items including $1,255 in District of Columbia traffic tickets. Moore also used his P-card in August 2009 to pay for his defense counsel’s air travel and hotel stay; the two went to Los Angeles for a hearing in another criminal case Moore was being tried in at the time. In addition, Moore engaged in “other fraudulent acts in connection with his employment application to Williams and the reimbursement of his moving expenses.”
Moore was immediately suspended and ultimately dismissed from the College after administrators learned of his lawsuit.
Moore sued the College in December 2009 for breaching his contract and violating COBRA by the immediate termination of his health insurance.
The breach of contract claims were dismissed in February, and all other outstanding claims were dismissed in April. Moore is currently appealing both rulings.