In case you missed it, I have a story on our main site today that takes a look at how the now-defunct for-profit Corinthian Colleges sold many students up a creek, including some North Carolina veterans who are saddled with big debts and worthless degrees and coursework.

In response to the story, one reader questioned on our Facebook page: Who accredited this scam?

That’s a great question.

So—when it comes to accrediting for-profit career colleges like Corinthian, here’s what I have learned.

Accrediting agencies that approve for-profit colleges also receive money from the very schools they are supposed to be holding accountable.

You read that correctly. The two national accrediting agencies that approved Corinthian schools—the Accrediting Commission for Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) and the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS)—each receive their funding in the form of fees from the schools they accredit.

At a congressional hearing in 2013, Kevin Carey of the New America Foundation compared this arrangement to some of the practices that have taken place on Wall Street.

“This is like bond ratings firms giving AAA ratings to mortgage-backed securities sold by the same firms that pay their fees,” Kevin Carey, the director of education policy at the New America Foundation, said at the hearing. “It does not work out well in the long run.”

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In case you missed it, The N&O’s Rob Christensen reports that Gov. McCrory has selected controversial former marine and two-time congressional candidate Ilario Pantano as assistant secretary for the State Division of Veterans Affairs.

As Christensen also reports, Pantano is not your typical state government appointee:

“Pantano is a businessman, author and former Marine who first came to national attention when he was accused by the Marines of murder after shooting two unarmed Iraqis held in captivity during the Iraq War in 2004. An article 32 hearing found no credible evidence or testimony for the accusation and the Marines declined to prosecute Pantano, dropping all charges.”

His autobiography: Warlord: No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy reflects the words on a sign that he placed above the corpses of the two men he killed — “No better friend, No worse enemy.” You can read more about Pantano (who also, rather remarkably, worked for Goldman Sachs at one time) in this lengthy profile written in New York Magazine at the time of the murder investigation.