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Saturday, 7 June 2014

Institute of Project Management America (instituteofprojectmanagementamerica.org). Is this a scam?

Three years ago I was spammed by an organisation called the North American Program Planning and Policy Academy (NAPPPA) which was attempting to get me to sign up for some seminars. It looked like a scam at the time, and it still looks like a scam now.

It took me a year of sporadic research to come up with the names of the people running the scam. Anthony Christopher Jones (known sometimes as "Tony Jones") and Patchree Patchrint (known as "Patty Patchrint"). After exposing them and detailing some of the evidence against them, NAPPPA, Jones and Patchrint dropped out of view. I assumed that this was the cockroach effect.. switch the lights on, and those roaches scurry for cover.

It looks like I was wrong.

A unexpected comment on my blog post opened up a new line of investigation.
Lem said...

I wish I would have found this blog prior to teaching a course for the Institute of Project Management America (IPMA). www.instituteofprojectmanagementamerica.org
The student certificates were signed by none other than Anthony C. Jones. Needless to say, I have not been paid nor the facility that hosted the training. I plan to sue them. In addition, there is a Patty Jones serving as the administrator/front person for IPMA. Perhaps his spouse. If anyone has any additional information about them, please share.
6 June 2014 22:25 
Could this be the same Anthony C Jones and Patty Jones (or Patchree Patchrint) that ran NAPPPA?

A look at instituteofprojectmanagementamerica.org shows an unremarkable site, but one which is carefully devoid of any contact details. The WHOIS records for the domain are hidden, and the only contact data that can be found are the telephone numbers  888-859-5659 and 866-959-3543.

The logo on the website has been recycled from elsewhere  and otherwise the template is bland, professional looking but completely anonymous.

A close look at the hosting history shows a number of related sites, either which are direct clones of instituteofprojectmanagementamerica.org or are previous versions. A full list is at the end of the post in Appendex 1, but principle domain names in use are:
The ones in the format projectmanagementusa3.org go all the way up to projectmanagementusa212.org. Who needs 212 copies of the same website? Well, spammers use these techniques to evade blacklisting.

The domains americanprojectmanagementusa.org  and projectmanagementusa.org are rather interesting as it is an older generation of the "Institute of Project Management America" spam site entitled "American Project Management" (you can see them at the Internet Archive).

A quick search against the phone number listed on that site (213-293-7410, 877-359-1110 and 888-739-0821) lead us to a BBB report with an alert to say the business has ceased trading.

The BBB indicates that this is a Colorado business, but a search of State records shows that there is no such business of that name registered in that state.

But a further Google search of the phone numbers also brings up this document at Scribd outlining the so-called American Project Management outfit and its activities [pdf copy here]. And who uploaded the document? A user called ppatchrint. That is undoubtedly Patchree Patchrint.

This document gives a California address rather than a Colorado one:
American Project Management
645 W. 9th Street
Unit 110-603
Los Angeles, CA 90015

So this gives us a clue to search the state records in California. An LLC search for "Institute of Project Management America" comes up blank, but a search for "American Project Management" comes up with a hit for "DDGLA AMERICAN PROJECT MANAGEMENT, LLC"

Now, I know that "DDGLA American Project Mangement LLC" is not quite the same thing  as "America Project Management", but the "645 WEST 9TH ST STE 110-603" address is the same as "645 W. 9th Street, Unit 110-603" as seen in the Scribd document. So there's a high likelihood that this is a match.. but there's no real contact information for this company.

But what does DDGLA actually stand for? I've been down this particular path with the NAPPPA investigation, so I know that DDGLA actually stands for "DOSS Development Group Los Angeles". A search for DOSS DEVELOPMENT GROUP at the California secretary of state reveals a name behind that company. And you've probably already guessed that it is Patchree Patchrint aka Patty Jones.

So, between the blog comments, the Scribd document and data held by the California Secretary of State, there are now three points of evidence linking the "Institute of Project Management America" and "American Project Management" with Patchree Patchrint aka Patty Jones and Anthony Christopher Jones.

So, is it a scam?

I haven't personally seen any spam promoting this so-called institute, but that was the basic approach with NAPPPA. Millions of credible-looking spam emails were sent out to universities and other organisations, that were published in good faith (such as this one).

Project Management Masters Certification Program

June 10-13, 2014
Association of Research and Enlightenment of New York
The PMMC is designed for those seeking professional project management certification.
PMMC program provides 36 hours of project management education, meeting education requirements for both PMI's Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) ® and Project Management Professional (PMP) certifications. The program meets the education requirement for all professional designations through the Project Management Institute and other professional agencies. Additionally, the program awards 3.6 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) upon request. Tuition for the four-day Project Management Masters Certification program is $995.00

Participants may reserve a seat online at the website, or by calling the Program Office toll-free at (888) 859-5659

Go to: http://www.instituteofprojectmanagementamerica.org/
What happened with NAPPPA is that these courses appeared to be booked at universities throughout the US, presumably to give them an air of authenticity. But at the last moment the venue for the course got moved to somewhere off-campus, people drafted in to teach the course never got paid and many students complained that the courses were of low quality. I don't doubt that the same is happening here.

In fact, this scam has been going on for a long time. Before the Institute of Project Management America, American Project Management and North American Program Planning and Policy Academy there were another similar scammy outfits.

The "Institute for Communication Improvement, LLC" (aka "The Grant Institute") seems to be the best known. For example:
The evidence seems to show that in one form or another the business has been running since 2005 or 2006, only now it is charging victims nearly a thousand dollars a pop for a course of questionable value.

Given the history of this pair, it is my personal opinion that the Institute of Project Management America is a scam. Indeed, DDGLA American Project Management LLC have already been successfully sued in California over their unethical operations.

Who are Anthony Christopher Jones and Patchree Patchrint (Patty Jones)?

I coverered this pair before, a California-based husband-and-wife team with links to Hacienda Heights and Los Angeles. In addition to the programs listed above, they have run a number of (mostly failed) LA based restaurants such as Mother Road, Mode, and the Royale on Wilshire.

DDGLA is also associated with the following (apparently defunct) websites:
  • ddglacommercial.com
  • pettycashadvance.com
  • bankddgla.com
  • ddglafinancial.com

What should you do if you are unhappy with the Institute of Project Management America?

I don't live in the US so I'm not 100% familiar with the processes that you can use. But if you think you have been ripped-off then complaining the the BBB, your local Attorney General, law enforcment or the courts seem to be a way to go. I don't have a current address for this pair however, if you manage to turn one up then I can share it if you send me an email.

Appendix 1:
These are a selection of the domains and IPs used. There are hundreds of other ones, especially in in the format projectmanagementusa111.org .



Andrew Rayy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brad Hodge said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brad said...

I believe I was scammed as well. I ended up teaching a 4 day course and still waiting to get paid for my work.

Please do not fall for this. Patty emailed me the day prior to teaching the class asking me to teach the class. I happened to be off for the week and decided to help them out.
I need to take the next steps on getting paid or seeing what I need to do so that others to not get scammed like me.

This is not cool at all.

Paul Byrum said...

Hi Brad,

Did you report this to the FBI, local police, the BBB? I am a victim too and did not get paid for a class I taught for them in Seattle, WA.

Mary L Gannon said...

Why was my post removed from your website? I am trying to collect a list of other victims. If you are concerned that my comments are accurate,I have a complete paper trail to support my claims,and I will provide it to you. I am still contacting Patty Jones daily, 7+ weeks after I taught the Denver seminar. She continues to state that I will be paid, and she'll let me know when. Have you been contacted by PMI, and threatened with legal action? Mary Gannon, PMP

Conrad Longmore said...

@Mary, the comment hasn't been removed but is on another post on the same topic. There are 11 posts on the same topic, so it's a bit fragmented. This post is the one that people currently seem to be reading about them.