Former Kaplan Dean Convicted of Web Threats

Former Kaplan University Law Dean Bennie Wilcox was found guilty on charges that he sent threatening emails and web posts during his time with the company. A jury convicted Wilcox on Dec. 10 and Judge Blanche Manning set a sentencing date of April 5, 2011.

Wilcox's legal troubles began in 2007 when he began sending out threatening messages under another company employee's names. Wilcox has been hired as dean in 2005, but was fired a year later. It is then that he made statements such as, “On July 13th 2007 we will take all of KU down and off line forever.”

Wilcox has vehemently denied the allegations and his lawyer stated that they plan to appeal the conviction, which was on six counts of sending threatening and harassing communications. In March 2008, Kaplan turned over evidence that allowed for the government to indict Wilcox. Among the evidence were videotaped and handwritten confessions.

While testifying to his defense, Wilcox retracted his confessions, claiming that he only confessed to protect his wife, whom he believed was really responsible. In addition, he accused Kaplan of schemes to defraud the U.S. Government as well as taxpayers- a charge the company denies.

“Justice has been done,” Kaplan spokeswoman Michele Pore said in an e-mailed statement. “We appreciate that the jury did not allow Mr. Wilcox's false 'blame the victim' allegations to obscure his personal criminal conduct.

Following his conviction, Wilcox faces up to 18 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines.