Is Self-Proclaimed “Criminal Profiler” Chelsea Hoffman a scam artist?


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    Is Self-Proclaimed “Criminal Profiler” Chelsea Hoffman a scam artist?

    Post  Sykes on Mon Jan 11, 2016 3:17 pm

    A Critical Look at Crime Studies Course Created by Self-Proclaimed “Criminal Profiler” Chelsea Hoffman

    by Ernie Ford and Beth Parks


    Unlike the standard investigative feature article researched, written and syndicated by Torchmark Media, this piece is prepared as a public service. As a consequence, this story, or excerpts from it, may be reprinted in order to provide the public information about this Crime Studies Course and its creator, Chelsea Hoffman. In researching this article, it became apparent that Chelsea Hoffman and her endeavors present nothing newsworthy beyond the need to keep the public abreast of what are described as fraudulent enterprises initiated and run by Chelsea Hoffman.
    The ultimate purpose of this article is to examine the contention that the Crime Studies Course represents a scam perpetrated by Chelsea Hoffman. The examination of the contention was three-fold when it comes to this article. First, we examined Hoffman’s background in relation to the Crime Studies Course. Second, we examined the claims made by uDemy and Hoffman regarding the course and Hoffman’s expertise. Finally, a member of the team investigating this story enrolled in the course itself.

    The uDemy Learning Market Place

    The Chelsea Hoffman Crime Studies Course is included on a platform maintained by an enterprise called uDemy. uDemy markets itself as being:
    “The world’s online learning marketplace, where 4 million+ students are taking courses in everything from programming to yoga to photography–and much, much more. Each of our 18,000+ courses is taught by an expert instructor, and every course is available on-demand, so students can learn at their own pace, on their own time, and on any device.”

    In researching this article, the offerings of uDemy generally were reviewed. The company does indeed maintain a wide selection of courses which do appear to be taught by clearly professional individuals who are deemed experts in their field.

    The generally accepted definition of “expert” is “a person who has a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge of or skill in a particular area.” The moniker “expert” is inapplicable to Chelsea Hoffman as it relates to this particular course of study. By definition, the Crime Studies Course investigated for this article is not taught by an “expert” as promoted by uDemy. This fact opened the door to a further inquiry as to whether this course represents a completely fraudulent enterprise run by Hoffman.

    Beyond questions and concerns about Hoffman’s qualifications to teach the course, questions have been raised about the content prepared and presented by Hoffman in the course itself. In order to evaluate the quality of materials provided by Hoffman in the course, a reporter involved in investigating this story enrolled in the Chelsea Hoffman Crime Studies Course. Findings regarding the materials provided by Hoffman in the course are presented later in this article.

    An unnamed source from uDemy advised that the platform is investigating allegations regarding the Hoffman course, including whether it is presented by a true expert in the field. In addition, the platform is looking into the quality of the content included in the course as well, according to the source at uDemy.

    An accusation has also been made that Hoffman misappropriated educational materials from Ashworth College, an online school discussed later in this article, and included them in her own uDemy course without crediting them to the college. The materials from the Hoffman course are being presented to Ashworth College for review. At this juncture, nothing can be confirmed as to whether Hoffman has or has not plagiarized in regard to her course materials at uDemy.

    Chelsea Hoffman and Criminal Profiling

    Hoffman maintains that she is an “indie (independent) crime analyst and profiler.” The University of Maryland maintains a generally accepted definition of crime analysis:

    “Crime analysis is the systematic study of crime and disorder problems as well as other police-related issues – including sociodemographic, spatial, and temporal factors – to assist the police in criminal apprehension, crime and disorder reduction, crime prevention, and evaluation.”
    In order to be deemed an expert in crime analysis, a person must have an appropriate academic degree from a college or university. Hoffman does not meet the definition of a crime analyst; she lacks both an appropriate educational as well as professional background to qualify as a crime analyst. The only indicia of her standing as a crime analysts are her personal proclamations.

    Hoffman’s self-identification as a being a criminal profiler is equally problematic. A criminal profiler is defined as:

    “A professional involved in identifying the perpetrator of crime based on an analysis of the nature of the offense and the manner in which it was committed.” A criminal profiler has obtained an appropriate degree from an institution of higher learning, and oftentimes an advanced degree. Yet again, Hoffman does not meet these requirements. The only evidence of her standing as a criminal profiler are her own unfounded pronouncements.
    Hoffman routinely touts her enrollment at an online school called Ashworth College as being evidence of her expertise as a criminal profiler. In a peculiar line of postings on the Internet, Hoffman maintains that she needed to enroll at Ashworth College because her IQ is so high, a traditional institution of higher education would be inappropriate to her significant intelligence. In fact, while Ashworth likely provides a decent curriculum in various areas of study, the school definitely is not known as a magnet for the intelligentsia. Hoffman has yet to obtain any degree from this institution, further buttressing the fact that she definitely is not an expert in the arena of crime analysis, criminal profiling and crime studies as she promotes through her uDemy course.

    Chelsea Hoffman and Celebrity

    Not only does Hoffman hold herself out as being an expert in the field of “criminal profiling,” she similarly proclaims that she is a “public figure” and a “celebrity.” She claims a large “fan” following.

    In reality, when Hoffman wrote and posted her own Wikipedia page, (an act that underscores her own lack of a true public standing of any kind), the overseers at the online encyclopedia removed the page. The page was removed based on the determination that Hoffman had not accomplished anything of professional merit to warrant a Wikipedia page.

    Moreover, the only indication that Hoffman is a so-called “public figure” or “celebrity” arises from her own Internet postings. Recently, a “Chelsea Hoffman Fan Page” was initiated on Facebook. After several weeks of soliciting fans, the page has five. Critics of Hoffman have made it known that most if not all of this fist-full of admirers are in fact people who take issue with Hoffman’s alleged unprofessionalism, dishonesty and conduct.

    Chelsea Hoffman and Authorship

    In addition to contending she is a criminal profiler and a celebrity, both contentions without foundation in reality, Hoffman holds herself out as being a professional author or writer. In fact, her history in the writing profession has rendered her claim to be a professional dubious. The bulk of Hoffman’s work as a self-proclaimed writer has been at sites at which approved participants post short articles in hopes that someone will click on a link to those pieces. When a link-through occurs, a participant receives pennies for the effort.

    At least two of these sites – All Voices and Digital Journal – both dropped Hoffman recently. Indeed, Digital Journal dispatched Hoffman after only a few days at the venue. A number of different reasons have been proffered for Hoffman’s removal from these sites, including allegations of plagiarism, incompetence, threatening and harassing other site participants and a major petition drive calling for her removal from All Voices specifically.

    The petition drive to have Hoffman removed from All Voices involved thousands of people. The focus of the petition drive was on Hoffman’s documented abuse of victims of crime. Hoffman has routinely attacked online through degrading postings the family members of victims of crime. In at least one case, she set up a fund raising campaign allegedly on behalf of a crime victim’s family. The family did not approve the effort and the allegation has been made that Hoffman set up the fund raising campaign to generate funds for her own use. The family requested that she cease and desist. In the end, the damage of this apparent scam by Hoffman was minimal as she was only able to generate a single $10 donation.

    Included on the list of people requesting that Chelsea Hoffman be banned from this particular social media news site was Marc Klaas. Klaas is the father of Polly Klaas, the 12 year old girl who was kidnapped and murdered in a case that garnered international attention. Marc Klaas has dedicated himself to legitimate efforts to assist victims of crime, including through the Polly Klaas Foundation.

    Hoffman’s termination from content mills on the Internet is nothing new. A few years back she was terminated by Demand Media Studios when she refused to participate in a program designed to assist her in improving her sub-par writing abilities. When removed by that company, she responded with an email that has been made public. The communication is laced with a level of offensive profanity never associated with any professional setting.

    A senior editor from Demand Media Studios was interviewed for this article. The Demand Media Studios senior editor requested anonymity because of Hoffman’s reputation for attacking and harassing people who disagree with her or take a stand against what they maintain is misconduct and even illegality by Hoffman.

    “Chelsea Hoffman was a totally inadequate writer. From poor grammatical skills to actually making up information in her articles, she was highly problematic and thoroughly unprofessional. Demand Media tried multiple times to assist her in improving her skills, all to no avail. Perhaps even more problematic was Hoffman’s continual attacking and harassing other members of the Demand Media team. Indeed, her access to professional forums at Demand Media was suspended because of this misconduct multiple times,” the senior editor explained.

    To her credit, and despite the determination of Wikipedia overseers that Hoffman has no noteworthy professional achievements, an independent publishing house did release a title that lists her as the author. The book is entitled River of No Return.

    Nearly immediately after its release in digital form, the publisher had to remove the book from the market. According to a sworn affidavit submitted by the publisher, the book was removed because Hoffman made up facts within the book, including an entire chapter in which she manufactured quotes. According to the sworn affidavit, the person “quoted” never made any statements to Hoffman and everything in the book attributed to that individual was a complete fabrication by Hoffman.

    In addition, according to the publisher, the book was pulled from the market based on allegations of plagiarism and libel. Problems with copyright infringement and defamation have followed Hoffman for years, according to individuals familiar with her history.

    The Chelsea Hoffman Crime Studies Course

    Content and Presentation

    As noted earlier in this article, as part of the research into the Crime Studies Course presented by Chelsea Hoffman at uDemy, a person involved in investigation and research for this article signed up for the course. Having already established that Chelsea Hoffman is not an expert in the field of criminal profiling, crime analysis or crime studies, the focus of the investigation turned to the materials presented during the course itself.
    As an aside, Hoffman has reduced the price associated with this course to $50. Prior to Halloween, she marketed the course for $5 if a person entered the discount code “spooky.” In the aftermath of that promotion, she offered the course for free to a set number of people. At that juncture, one of the individuals involved in researching this article signed up for the course.

    A grand total of 61 individuals evidently have signed up for the course since its inception, including one of the people involved in preparing this article. Unlike the vast majority of courses available at the uDemy platform, there are no reviews or ratings provided by these apparent participants in the Hoffman course.

    At the outset, it is important to note again that a concern has been raised that Hoffman pilfered at least some of the teaching materials from Ashworth College without providing the institution proper credit. For reasons reported in a moment, in reviewing the course materials, it is possible that some have been swiped by Hoffman. However, because of the quality of materials used by Hoffman in some sections of the course, it is likely that a sizable portion of the course materials are the brainchild of Chelsea Hoffman.

    The most startling deficiency in this course allegedly taught by an expert were the wholly inadequate “lectures” presented by Hoffman herself. Many of the individual lectures presented by Hoffman were less than 15 minutes each. The only two presentations that actually reached the length of a bona fide lecture were entitled “Most Perverted Serial Killers” and “John Wayne Gacy” (a particularly prolific serial killer active in the 1970s). In the end, no professional instructor would promote a general course on “crime studies” and then spend an inordinate amount of time presenting salacious information about serial killers.

    A woman who identifies herself as a former friend of Chelsea Hoffman, and who signed up but did not complete the Crime Studies Course, commented on Hoffman’s infatuation with serial killers. The woman indicated that she did not want to be identified by name because of Hoffman’s seemingly ubiquitous reputation for exacting revenge from people who disagree with or criticize her. Indeed, if Chelsea Hoffman is known for anything it is for harassing and viciously attacking people on the Internet, including the families of victims of crime, according to current and former associates.

    This associate of Hoffman noted: “She’s like a groupie. She’s bragged about attempting to make connections with at least one and probably more serial killers,” she said. “Chelsea seems to be interested in this type of connection with a serial killer for personal and not professional reasons.” In confirming this contention, our investigators did discover that Hoffman bragged about writing hand written missives to at least one imprisoned serial killer in online posts.

    In addition to the individual lectures not meeting muster when it comes to length and general content, the Crime Studies Course is also riddled with misinformation. The fact that there is inaccurate information presented by Hoffman in this course underscores the fact that she probably has not stolen educational materials from Ashworth College or some other source for all aspects of her course.

    Returning for a moment to the issue of Hoffman’s widespread reputation for attacking people online, in the interest of full disclosure, one of the owners of the parent company of Torchmark Media has been subjected to harassment and defamatory statements by Hoffman for an extended period of time. In addition to Torchmark Media, the parent company owns about a dozen other enterprises. He is not involved in the operations or management of Torchmark Media and has no editorial role with the company. He has taken legal action against Hoffman alleging defamation and what legally is known as false light. He was contacted during the investigation of the Hoffman Crime Studies Course but declined to be interviewed.

    In the final analysis, Hoffman’s credentials and background do not render her an expert in the realm of criminal profiling, crime analysis or crime studies. A considerable amount of the content included in the Crime Studies Course is inadequate. Whether the manner in which Hoffman markets herself and her course constitutes fraud is a determination beyond the scope of this investigation and article. The issue of fraud is a question for law enforcement authorities in the Office of the Nevada Attorney General.

    A consumer who has signed up for the Hoffman Crime Studies Course can lodge a complaint with the Nevada Attorney General:

    Nevada Attorney General
    Bureau of Consumer Protection

    Truth is the Daughter of Time

      Current date/time is Thu Jan 17, 2019 10:28 am