Internships offered by DB student group were falsified

Member of student company STUcollab misleads two students in finding internships; investigation pending

Amelie Lee, Editor-in-Chief

Two Diamond Bar High School students were victims of a scam involving prestigious summer internships offered through the student-run company STUcollab. STUcollab, which claimed to help high school students find internships, is currently under investigation by the school, according to two students victimized by the group.

In the May issue of the Bull’s Eye, a story featured STUcollab, a non-profit company co-founded by then sophomores Tony Xu, Michael Cheng and Jackson Lennon. The group  claimed to help students match their interests to real life internships. The story said that two DBHS students, sophomore Mark Tan and junior Ted Yarmoski, were able to find internships at Morgan Stanley and KPMG, respectively.

While the three members of the group created the company together, Cheng said that Xu gave them incorrect information and worked alone when helping Tan and Yarmoski. Cheng and Lennon were unaware that the internships were falsified.

“We knew him for five years as a close friend… we worked together on everything, but Jackson and I were not involved with helping Mark or Ted get their “internships,”…. he had full control over company legalities and finances,” Cheng said via Facebook.

Mark Tan, who was also former Chief Communications Officer of the company, was offered an internship by Xu, who claimed to have investors in their non-profit and connections to a range of employees from high-end companies.

“Tony sat in front of me in AP Euro for the year and we talked a lot in the second semester and he mentioned he could get me an internship at a bulge bracket bank after I mentioned I was interested in finance,” Tan said via Facebook.

Tan said that after Xu discussed an internship with Morgan Stanley with him, he received multiple emails from the account “[email protected],” as well as multiple letters from someone who claimed to be one of the vice presidents of the company. He also received an acceptance letter to their Summer Analyst Program with official logos, supposedly signed by the senior vice president and first vice president of the company.

Eventually, after contacting real employees at Morgan Stanley, Tan discovered that the information given to him was falsified.

“After I found out, I tried to contact Tony, but he claimed to be in China for an Evergrande Shareholder Meeting and he never responded to me, Michael [Cheng], or Jackson [Lennon] for about a week and a half,” Tan said. “I was in a state of distrust towards everyone for the next few weeks… I really re-evaluated my friends and I wanted to see who was actually there for me.”

Xu also offered a possible internship to Yarmoski, the opinion editor of the Bull’s Eye, at the accounting firm of KPMG, but that too turned out to be false. In an email to STUcollab, KPMG Associate General Counsel David G. Rizzo addressed the accusations.

“It has come to the attention of KPMG LLP that… ‘STUcollab,’ and/or others affiliated with ‘STUcollab’ have authored and/or distributed letter bearing KPMG’s name, trademark, and property… in which you or others have attempted to impersonate falsely personnel employed with KPMG,” the lawyer wrote. “Therefore, we demand that you…immediately CEASE and DESIST from including or otherwise using KPMG’s name…”

During this time, Xu told the other members of STUcollab, Cheng and Lennon, that the internship opportunities were successful. Upon learning of inconsistencies in information, Cheng and Lennon decided to resign from the company and inform DBHS administration about the situation.

“We had our suspicions when our clients gave us different stories on what happened,” Lennon said. “We consulted our resources to find any means for Michael [Cheng] and I to legally leave the company and were successful. We no longer wanted to be affiliated with STUcollab and wanted to pursue new ways of helping students.”

Xu did not respond to a request for comment.


Follow-up Story:

Statement from STUcollab CEO leaves former co-workers with concerns