Big Cheats on Campus

Paper Providers Feel No Shame Either

Buying a "custom" paper is a way students get around programs like Turnitin. On the Internet there are hundreds of places, like SchoolSucks.com, that offer term papers written by others, for a price -- maybe $15 per page -- written just for you.

Anna Popielarz owns a paper mill Web site called CustomPapers.com. She says the papers she sells will not be caught by plagiarism software. Like the students who cheat, Popielarz doesn't show any shame.

We sent an anonymous request to her Web site to write a paper for us. The five-page paper we bought for $99 was riddled with typos and misspellings. But Popielarz says her customers are satisfied.

"We get customers thanking us. And they usually give us good feedback on their grades," she said.

She said her company is providing a service for students, not helping them cheat. "They don't have to turn the paper in as their own. They can just use it as the model paper. ... You can't really blame me for students cheating," she said.

Yes, I can.

Student Says Heiress Paid Her $20,000 to Do Much of Her Coursework

If you are a student with money, you may be able to get someone else to do work for you.

At the prestigious University of Southern California, where tuition is nearly $30,000 per year, commencement speaker Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., congratulated students for their achievements. "This is day to bask in praise and you've earned it," he told them.

In that crowd were students who earned their degrees through their own hard work, but according to former USC student Elena Martinez, there was one student who did not.

20/20 talked with Martinez who'd worked hard for the chance to go to USC. To raise the money for tuition she joined the Army Reserve, worked summers and took out student loans.

Martinez wasn't accustomed to being among peers who came from rich families. She was stunned to learn that the young woman who was her roommate her freshman year came from one of America's wealthiest families.

In fact, Martinez's roommate, Paige Laurie, recently had a sports stadium at a major university named in her honor. Laurie's parents donated money to the school and wanted it named for their daughter. Paige Laurie is a granddaughter of one of the founders of Wal-Mart. Her mother has more than $2 billion. Her father owns the St. Louis Blues hockey team.

Laurie's parents said they wanted the stadium named after her because they were proud of her.

But I don't think they knew that Martinez says she did much of Paige's schoolwork for her -- for money.

"She's always had everything done for her, I think. I mean, when she first came I taught her how to do her laundry. I did some of it for her sometimes," Martinez said.

Martinez says Laurie had more time to party and meet celebrities, because she was paid to do Laurie's work for her.

Martinez says it began freshman year, when the heiress asked her to write a paper for her.

"I just sort of thought, I'm trying to get to know her and I'll help her out. I'll help her out this time," Martinez said.

Martinez admits it wasn't a good thing to do, but says it turned out great for her because she earned spending money for the week.

What started as a favor became kind of a job.

Martinez dropped out of USC, because she couldn't afford it. She moved back home, but her computer files show she continued cheating for Laurie.

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