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Massage Today
May, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 05

CA Law Makes Sale of Faked MT Credentials Illegal

By Ramon G. McLeod, Editor-in-Chief

A law that would make it illegal to knowingly provide faked massage therapist credentials is moving the California state legislature in response to human traffickers who are selling the phony documents to prostitutes who pose as therapists.

Senate Bill 285 was introduced in February by State Sen. Lou Correa, a Democrat from Orange County in Southern California. The bill makes it a misdemeanor for anyone "who provides a certificate, transcript, diploma, or other document, or otherwise affirms that a person has received instruction in massage therapy knowing that the person has not received instruction in massage therapy or knowing that the person has not received massage therapy instruction consistent with that document or affirmation."

The law was spurred by an investigation into phony documents done by the two-year-old California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC), which issues certificates that permit massage therapists to work anywhere in the state. To be certified, an applicant must provide proof of their education, typically a transcript of their grades. Before issuance, however, CAMTC does criminal background checks.

At press time, sources have told Massage Today that the CAMTC uncovered the scam when an analysis of applicant records disclosed patterns in which certain "schools" had very high numbers of "graduates" with prostitution arrests. Further investigation determined that in several cases the "schools" were little more than storefronts and private homes that did not even offer up the pretext of classroom teaching. The sources said bogus transcripts were being sold at prices ranging up to $2,500.

Besides criminalizing the fraudulent sales, the bill also requires police departments to provide CAMTC with information about the educational claims of people who have been arrested and prosecuted for violating state laws in connection with massage therapy, i.e., prostitutes. This section of the law is clearly intended to give the CAMTC more leads about who is selling faked transcripts.

 

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