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Man Builds Career on Helping Students Cheat

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- That nurse taking your blood pressure? She may not have written her college term papers. Ditto for your accountant, your pharmacist, your child's school principal. Cheating has come a long way since the days when answers were written on the palm of a student's hand.

Meet "Ed." He agreed to talk to ABC News as long as his name was changed to protect his identity. He said he's helped thousands of students graduate by writing their term papers, final exams, even doctoral theses. Many of them are on highly specialized topics, including national and maritime security. And his clients rarely get caught.

While his services mean the students don't have to crack open a book, "Ed" says he usually doesn't either. The Internet, he said, has made him a kind of jack-of-all-trades.

"In the midst of this great recession, business is booming," he wrote last month in an essay in the Chronicle of Higher Education. "At busy times, during midterms and finals, my company's staff of roughly 50 writers is not large enough to satisfy the demands of students who will pay for our work and claim it as their own."

Despite advances in technology to prevent cheating and an increase in vigilance by professors, estimates as to how many students cheat are still high. According to researchers at the Center for Academic Integrity, more than two-thirds of college students have admitted to cheating.

"Ed" said he was on track to make $66,000 this year before he got out of the business -- more than some of his clients will make after graduating using his work. His longest assignment -- a 175-page accounting paper written over four days -- earned him $2,000.

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