“The Great Pretender”: Northwestern Expels Law Student Months Before Graduation After Discovering Shocking Criminal Record In Texas

220px-Northwestern_University_Seal.svgThere is an interesting case at my alma mater, Northwestern University School of Law, where a former student is suing over his expulsion shortly before his graduation. The student is Mauricio Celis, 42, and he was expelled for not disclosing that he is a former felon in Texas who was convicted for falsely holding himself out as a lawyer as well as a misdemeanor conviction of portraying himself as a police officer in a bizarre case involving a woman who wandered nude from his hot tub and walked into a convenience store. Celis objects that Northwestern expelled him for the failure to disclose but that it never asked him to disclose any criminal history when he applied for his master of laws. After suing Northwestern, Celis and Northwestern agreed to a voluntary dismissal of the suit.

The case is obviously embarrassing for Northwestern which appeared to do no inquiry into the history of the applicant who was infamous in Texas and called “The Great Pretender.” Indeed, a prosecutor called him “the biggest con man in the history of Nueces County.” Before he was nabbed, he ran offices in eight cities, including Beverly Hills, Miami, and Mexico City. He was a major Democratic donor with contributions of nearly half a million dollars to Democratic political campaigns from 2002 to 2007.

His past difficulties include a long series of fraudulent representations, flashing a pistol during an argument with the owner of a local strip club, breaking into a girlfriend’s apartment and flashing an expired reserve deputy’s badge in three different encounters with police. Here is an account of the hot tub incident that gives a glimpse into Celis:

The position of Northwestern is that Celis should have known that his criminal history was material. Yet, the school did not require the information and took his money for the educational program. Indeed, he spent about $76,000 on the program and the school presumably kept the money and tossed him shortly before graduation.

The failure to even google the applicant shows how schools continue to rely on an “honors system” even among the top law programs in the country. Northwestern came within weeks of giving an advance degree to the “Great Pretender” of Texas.

Of course, the graduation would have made for a classic procession tune.

Source: Chicago Tribune

107 thoughts on ““The Great Pretender”: Northwestern Expels Law Student Months Before Graduation After Discovering Shocking Criminal Record In Texas”

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  2. “In the law school my daughter went to, Florida State” That’s the law school I want opposing counsel to have graduated from. Go Gators!

    1. saucy – the former Senator from WY was an admitted felon. He used to drive down back roads and he and his friends would shot the mail boxes (a federal offense). And the former mayor of Washington, DC, convicted of drug offenses, is back in office. An impeached federal judge was elected to federal office, but I think he is in jail right now (think he was the one with the ‘frozen cash’ he needed to get during Katrina).

  3. Oh good lord. ‘I ignore the troll by commenting on the troll’. Very rational. Jonolon is trying to make folks stay on topic. Talk about Mauricio!

  4. jonolan, Even though continually stalked, I have taken to ignoring the stalker. You can see how profoundly stupid and inane the comments can be. But, it is probably the only way to end the trollery. I am the reason the stalker is here. So, for that, I apologize to you and all who have to suffer the inanity. You’re infrequent here so I thought you might need to understand the history, and consider ignoring the troll as do I. I believe it is the only way to end the craziness. Trolls seek attention. Take away the attention, and they usually implode.

  5. OK, I admit I forgot who Celis was, LOL! If you would’ve said Mauricio I would’ve immediately known who you meant! 😉

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