9 August 2022

Company ‘selling’ assignments lands in Auckland court

By Gurbir Singh:

Are you an international student, and using online ‘assignment help’ agencies to write assignments on your behalf?

Be wary – you could be committing an offence of dishonestly using a document and using forged documents if you use an assignment written by someone else.

A husband -wife team running Assignments4U from an Auckland address is facing trial in High Court for an alleged commercial cheating service they were providing.

The Assignments 4U’s business practices of using ‘ghostwriters’ for writing assignments on behalf of students was uncovered in 2013 by a ‘Stuff’ journalist who ordered an essay from the company for a first year course.

The NZQA and the police have also launched an inquiry following this ‘Stuff’ report.

As per ‘Stuff’ reports, more than $1.1 million was paid by Chinese-speaking students attending New Zealand universities and polytechnics to Steven Quan Li and his wife Fan Yang, directors of this company, to complete assignments by ‘ghost writers’ who were hired by them.

In the Auckland High Court, the Crown prosecutor, Mark Harborow said, “The company sold assignments in a pre-written format for students to hand in to instructors as if they were their own work.”

“The profit was estimated at about $4.689m with the average assignment costing $406.”

According to the ‘Stuff’ report, Harborow told the Court that students would visit  Assignments4U’s Auckland office or email and supply this company details of the essay topic, along with log-in details to the educational institute.

“Assignments4U would take the information and contact the tutor or a ghostwriter with the topic, and the ghostwriter would write the ‘solution’ or essay,” he said.

Each assignment varied in price depending upon “urgency, grade and word count.”

If students did not achieve the guaranteed grade, they would get a refund of their payment.

The Crown prosecutor alleged that the company committed forgery, used forged documents and provided cheating services.

Similarly, the students who availed these services, also offended by dishonestly using a document and using forged documents.

The company, Assignments4U Consultant Limited changed its name in 2007 to Atan Ltd and again to Ateama Ltd in 2010.

Assignments4U is (or was) not alone providing such ‘cheating services’.

There are several similar ‘assignment help agencies’ who advertise frequently and regularly on social media offering their services to write assignments.

How legal this ‘writing on behalf’ is and for how long they can carry on this ‘cheating services’ only time will tell.

Eventually, long hands of the law will reach them, especially after this exposure of court case against Assignments4U.


This story was originally published by this Journalist  in June 2018: