Milton Keynes Council says it is thankful no one was “taken in” by woman who marketed a fake school that offered bogus qualifications.
Tina Beloveth Powerful, 47, will be sentenced on July 10 after being found guilty of fraud on Friday. Magistrates warned she could be facing a prison sentence.
A Milton Keynes Council Trading Standards spokesperson said: “This was, to say the least, a case of very misleading advertising.
“Thankfully no-one appears to have been taken in by this, at least not to the point where they parted with money in payment for non-existent services.”
The court heard how Ms Powerful had used photos on her website of her bible school students dressed in caps and gowns, looking as if they were university graduates who had earned internationally recognised qualifications, including degrees.
On the same website she claimed: “we have invested heavily in high-tech classrooms...outstanding facilities...welcoming reception, spacious classrooms, well-equipped computer labs, a library and multi-media facilities’.”
In reality, none of this existed, and on Friday (June 18) both Ms Powerful, as an individual, and her company, the Everest School of Transformational Leadership Ltd, were convicted by Milton Keynes magistrates of various offences under:
- The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008
- Education Reform Act 1988
- Companies Act 2006 –section 993 - fraudulent trading
Ms Powerful ignored persistent warnings by Milton Keynes Council’s Trading Standards team to alter or remove the content of her website about her ‘school’, which at one point was called the Havard school of Management & Technology UK. She was forced to change the name after legal action from the world famous Harvard University in America.
Ms Powerful claimed that she relied on the advice and guidance of Professor Leon Goldman when she set up her school and the website.
She also claimed that the school was still in the planning stages – although this was rejected by the magistrates - and there was no intention to deceive anyone.
The court heard that Ms Powerful had no previous convictions and accepted that there was no evidence that anybody had become a victim and paid any money to her.