SAN FRANCISCO, April 7 (UPI) -- A San Francisco official filed suit against a culinary school owner who allegedly required students to give free labor at events he catered.
City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed suit Tuesday against Angelo Mueller Degenhardt, who is accused of running a fraudulent operation, the Academie de Cuisine, Bay City News Service reported.
Degenhardt allegedly charged Chinese immigrant students as much as $3,600 in tuition for his three-month culinary training program that included a three-month paid externship at one of the school's culinary locations.
But Degenhardt allegedly made the students work for free to obtain their certificates of completion.
Students started to complain when the academy required a retroactive agreement that students manage catering events as an unpaid externship to receive their certificates, Herrara said.
Mueller served a three-year federal prison term 2007-10 for violating his probation after being convicted in Utah of federal mail and securities fraud.
"Fraud is always bad, of course, but defrauding students who aspire to improve their work skills and better provide for their families takes an extra degree of maliciousness," Herrera said.