Ex-Kaplan employee alleges company framed him after he became a whistle-blower
Trial begins Monday for Ben Wilcox, a former dean at Kaplan who is accused of sending threatening e-mails to Kaplan students, employees and executives
Ameet Sachdev Chicago Law, November 30, 2010
A trial opened Monday in a Chicago federal courtroom against an alleged computer hacker that promises to reveal more than the details of a cybercrime.
Jury selection began in a case against Ben Wilcox, a 45-year-old River Forest resident who faces charges of hacking into his former employer’s computer system and sending out harassing e-mails. The former employer is Kaplan Higher Education, a for-profit education company based in Chicago that is part of the Washington Post Co.
The threatening e-mails were sent to Kaplan students, employees and executives. While Kaplan was the victim, the trial will shed uncomfortable light on the company.
Wilcox, who previously confessed to the computer crime, now alleges that Kaplan framed him because he threatened to blow the whistle on some of the company’s illegal activities, according to court documents his lawyer recently filed.
Wilcox, who worked as a dean of legal studies at Kaplan, is a plaintiff in a pending federal whistle-blower lawsuit that accuses Kaplan of inflating grades and fraudulently increasing enrollment numbers to obtain additional federal government subsidies.