The former owner of two now-defunct South Florida "for profit" colleges is now facing charges for closing them without warning – and leaving students and faculty with plenty of problems and questions.
Ernesto Perez, 48, was charged with two misdemeanor counts of improper school closure after shutting down both Dade Medical College and the University of Southernmost Florida in October of 2015.
Perez was booked into the Miami-Dade jail Wednesday, records showed. It was unknown if he's hired an attorney.
Under state law, for profit schools must provide the state’s Commission for Independent Education at least 30 days in advance and provide a plan for students to finish their education or transfer records to another school.
Students and faculty were sent an email one hour before Perez closed both schools informing them of the closure, authorities said.
"Those students who placed their trust in Ernesto Perez and these two educational institutions, now have debts instead of degrees," Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said in a statement. "If the law had been followed and proper efforts taken to assist students, at least hope could remain alive. School employees, locked out of their work place without any advance notice, appear to have fared no better."
Perez had run both schools since opening DMC and USMF in March and September of 2000, respectively.