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Forensics camp being probed
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Entrepreneuring educator Ronald Armstrong appeared to be the right person to open an educational day camp in Liberty County for area students.
His extensive resume included several stints working for distance-learning institutions as a consultant and curriculum developer, as well as earned degrees in anthropology and forensic sciences.
Armstrong showed up in March with his family in tow, and through local media outlets publicized his plan to open a forensic science field academy that would share the basics of forensics field work in a fun outdoor setting on his Fleming property. Armstrong’s pitch appealed to local parents, who forked over $100 per child to enroll them in the camp.
“I signed up my two older girls, and [Armstrong] said the money had to be paid by April,” said Hinesville resident Karen Higgason. “Their school was also offering a forensics camp, but they were really excited about this one.”
After paying the fees, Higgason said they heard nothing from Armstrong for several weeks. When her husband reached Armstrong by phone, the self-proclaimed “pedagogical thought leader” told them he was not opening the camp after all.
Too few students had enrolled, he told them, but he pledged to send refunds to the addresses he had on file. A disconnected phone and website soon followed. By that time the Higgasons’ check had been deposited.
Armstrong and his family appear to have left the area — along with the money.
“Once I sent that money, I couldn’t afford [the school camp],” she said.
With the help of a relative who works as a private investigator, Higgason did some digging of her own. The information she said she uncovered points to the likelihood that Armstrong has conducted similar scams elsewhere.
Other actions uncovered recently appear to support the contention and further unravel Armstrong’s claims.
Alissa Davis with the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission said Armstrong approached the commission last spring about obtaining a business license for the camp. “We spoke with him several times, but he never submitted a business license application,” Davis said.
An inquiry into his enrollment at Capella University, an online institution, revealed he is not currently working on the doctoral degree in instructional design for online learning that is listed on his resume. Michael Walsh, senior manager of public relations for Capella, said Armstrong “is no longer an active student at Capella and has not taken courses in several years.”
So far, only Higgason and one other parent have filed charges of theft by deception with the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, though Higgason feels more families may also have been victimized by what she believes was likely a scam all along.
“We’re pretty leery of things… but he seemed to check out,” Higgason said. “The guy obviously knows what he’s doing.”
Armstrong’s Facebook and LinkedIn website accounts appear to still be active, as well as his Armstrong Institute e-mail. The Coastal Courier made several attempts to contact Armstrong through these outlets but as of press time no response was received.
Anyone with information on Armstrong or wanting to file a complaint regarding the Armstrong Institute and forensic science field academy should contact the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office.

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