Still Free: U.S. Supreme Court Throws Disgraced Former Temple Fox Dean A Lifeline

Fox School of Business at Temple University.

Though he’s been tried, convicted, and sentenced to prison, former Temple Fox School of Business dean Moshe Porat isn’t headed to prison just yet. The U.S. Supreme Court this week threw him yet another reprieve, “relisting” his case for reconsideration, according to an article on SCOTUSblog.

In other words, the high court has not agreed to hear Porat’s case, but it also hasn’t rejected it outright. Relist means Porat’s appeal will be scheduled for reconsideration at a subsequent conference. Essentially, the justices have discussed Morat’s case, but they have neither granted or denied a full review. They’ll, you know, discuss it again later.

To refresh your recollection, as lawyers like to say, Porat is the ousted dean of Temple’s Fox School who repeatedly and knowingly lied to U.S. News & World Report on various MBA rankings for more than four years, according to the jury that first convicted him in 2021.


Ousted Temple Fox Dean Moshe Porat

Porat’s scheme first began to unravel in January 2018 when Poets&Quants’ founder and editor John Byrne noted with surprise that 100% of Fox’s online MBA students provided either a GMAT or GRE score for admission, according to the ranking. That’s despite the fact that the school publicly advertised a test waiver, and it was almost certain that at least some candidates would have taken the school up on the offer.

Investigations subsequently found more data rigging on various online, part-time, and executive MBA rankings at U.S. News. Evidence presented at Porat’s trial suggested that Fox may have submitted false data to ranking publications as early as 2010.

In April 2021, a grand jury charged Porat with one count of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud for conspiring with Fox staffer Marjorie O’Neill and statistics professor Isaac Gottlieb to knowingly submit false ranking data to U.S. News. His trial began that November in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania District Court in Philadelphia. P&Q’s John Byrne was the first witness called by the prosecution.

The U.S. prosecutor contended that Fox raked in millions of dollars in donations and extra tuition as enrollments rose along with the school’s rankings. Temple University, in turn, ended up paying millions of dollars to defrauded MBA students in a class-action lawsuit.

After seven days of testimony, it took a jury of eight women and four men less than one hour to convict Porat of both charges.

On March 11, 2022, Judge Gerald J. Pappert sentenced Porat to 14 months in prison and fined him $250,200. “This could be my first case where – from start to finish – I was never given one word or gesture to hang my hat on, to be able to say that (the defendant) has had some remorse or that he accepts some responsibility,” Pappert said in a scathing rebuke from the bench.


Porat, then 76 years old, was supposed to report to prison on May, 9, 2022. But, on that very day, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to hear his case and stayed his sentence pending appeal.

Though the court affirmed Porat’s conviction, he appears to still be home as his case marches on.

Porat petitioned for a writ of certiorari in March 2024, essentially asking the Supreme Court to review the lower court’s decision. The “relisted” status of the case could mean several things, according to SCOTUSblog.

“When a case is relisted, the justices do not grant or deny review, but instead will reconsider the case at their next conference,” reads the website’s relist explainer. “It is almost impossible to know exactly what is happening when a particular case is relisted, but there are a few possibilities. One justice could be trying to pick up a fourth vote to grant review, one or more justices may want to look more closely at the case, a justice could be writing an opinion about the court’s decision to deny review, or the court could be writing an opinion to summarily reverse (that is, rule in favor of the petitioning party without briefing or oral argument on the merits) the decision below.”

But, the fact that the case even made it inside the Supreme Court chambers, if only in whispers, means that there is likely a larger law question to be considered than how Fox School did on a rigged online MBA ranking more than six years ago.

The Porat case is one of two relisted cases this week that consider whether deception in a commercial transaction can constitute federal mail or wire fraud, according to SCOTUSblog. Porat wasn’t convicted of cheating or lying per se, but of using email and other electronic communications to solicit donations and increase enrollments based on the fraudulent rankings. In the other case, Kousisis v. United States, a Philadelphia business man was convicted of wire fraud for using a fake “disadvantaged business enterprise” as a front to earn contracts for public work projects.

“The current Supreme Court is demonstrably skeptical of broad interpretations of federal fraud laws, so the justices are likely taking a very close look at both cases,” writes John Elwood of SCOTUSblog.

Porat is the first university administrator to face a criminal trial for lying to a rankings magazine, and he is the first to be convicted. Who knows? Maybe he’ll be the first administrator to have his ranking scandal heard by The Supreme Court.

More About The Temple Rankings Scandal

How It Happened: Anatomy Of A Business School Rankings Fraud

Jones Day Investigation: Temple Dean Sacked Over Ranking Scandal

The Indictment: Former B-School Dean Indicted On Fraud Charges In MBA Rankings Scandal

MBA Rankings: Why Business Schools Are Willing To Cheat

Trial Coverage: Trial Begins For Ousted Temple Dean In Rankings Fraud Case

Day 1: ‘I Paid For Fine Dining, But I Got McDonald’s’: MBA Student Testifies In Rankings Fraud Trial

Day 1: ‘An Intimidating Man’ Who Made Staffers ‘Tremble’: Temple Vice Dean Testifies In Rankings Fraud Trial

Day 2: Ousted Dean: ‘Innocent Mistake’ Caused B-School To Be Thrown Out Of Ranking

Day 3: ‘Undergraduate Ethics Class’ Made Temple Fox Staffer Push For Correcting Inaccurate Data Reported To U.S. News

Day 4: Trying To Head Off An Independent Probe, Temple Fox Dean Tells Provost ‘If You’re In A Hole, Don’t Dig’

Day 5: Rankings Fraud Trial: Fox Dean Promoted Book In Wake Of Unranking

Day 6: Ousted Fox Dean Wanted App That Would Make His Messages ‘Disappear’

Day 7: Prosecution And Defense Rest In MBA Rankings Fraud Case

Verdict: B-School Dean Found Guilty Of MBA Rankings Fraud

Commentary: Arrogance Is What Ultimately Caused This B’School Dean’s Downfall

Sentencing: Moshe Porat, Former Temple Fox Dean, Sentenced To 14 Months In Prison For Rankings Fraud

Appeal: Appeals Court To Finally Hear Arguments In Ousted Temple Dean Moshe Porat’s Case AND Disgraced Temple Fox Dean Moshe Porat Loses Appeal — Will He Report To Prison? 

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