Fraud charges shock former teachers of broadcasting school
Published Thursday, August 14, 2008 5:13PM MDT
A handful of former teachers who used to work at a disputed Edmonton broadcasting school say they are shocked to hear of the charges laid against its owner.
Radio host Jungle Jay Hamilton, a former teacher and ex-husband to Jacquie Hammond, says he can't believe the owner of the Canadian School of Modern Broadcasting is currently in jail in Savannah, Georgia.
"I never thought or even would even suspect that she would even pull all these things on us," he said. "We've been in business for 10 years."
Hammond is facing 17 felony counts in relation to her Modelling and Talent Agency. The charges include financial transaction card fraud, identity theft and theft by deception.
CTV News first aired a story Wednesday after a student complained about the lack of professionalism at the Canadian School of Modern Broadcasting.
Student Scott O'Donnell said he stopped going to the school about two months into his classes after some of his teachers stopped appearing regularly.
When CTV News stopped by the school's downtown office Wednesday, only empty tables, chairs, boxes and a disconnected phone line were present.
O'Donnell said he is now stuck with a $5,000 student loan.
The institution's website labels the school as the "perfect environment" for students to achieve their very best using "state-of-the-art equipment and tops-in-their field professional instructors."
Since airing the story, the Alberta Education and Technology Department says 10 students have stepped forward with similar complaints.
Department spokesman Kevin Donnan says they are ready to act if any evidence is found.
"In a heart beat," he said. "If there is any indication whatsoever of fraud, criminal activity, any indication at all we are going to Justice and Attorney General as soon as possible."
Jungle Jay left the school in November 2007, along with another well-known broadcasting figure, Global personality Bob Layton.
One teacher, who asked not to be named, said it was big names like theirs that drew him into the school.
"When I originally started anyone who was anybody literally was teaching there and that's why I felt no problem going with it," he said.
He says he worries his reputation could be on the line.
"Who expects this," he said. "That's crazy. I'm still in shock."
Meanwhile, some former students said they are releaved to hear Hammond is in jail.
"I was actually happy that this happened, that justice in a way was served," Sylvie Gaudet said.
With a report from CTV Edmonton's Dez Melenka