Carl Barney’s first career was managing several Scientology missions – you know, L. Ron Hubbard and squeeze the cans – swindling the gullible and ignorant.  His second career was managing several for-profit colleges, taking advantage of the poorly overseen federal student loan program. He couldn’t lose. Help any more or less warm body get a guaranteed loan to pay for his trade schools’ shabby degree programs, then whether or not the person defaults he gets to keep the money.
In this way, over the course of twenty years or so, he amassed a fortune, hundreds of millions of dollars. Lucrative as running Scientology missions had been, the new career was vastly more so. For all its faults, Scientology was never plugged into the federal handout machine.
The beginning of what may be the end of Barney’s second career can be traced back to late 2012, when he converted his for-profit colleges to non-profits to avoid more stringent financial oversight of the guaranteed loans. The umbrella foundation for the newly designated non-profits was the Center for Excellence in Higher Education. (For a time Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Institute and Mr. Brook’s associate C. Bradley Thompson of Clemson University were on CEHE’s board of directors.) If Barney had remained for-profit then, per new legislation, no more than 90% of his schools’ revenue could have come from federally guaranteed loans. Apparently 90% wasn’t enough for him. He avoided the restriction – or tried to – by converting to non-profit. (He denies this was the reason, saying the timing was purely coincidental. He says nothing about how the conversion accords with his earlier praise of for-profit schools.)
Highlights of subsequent events:
2013 February 11: The conversion from for-profit to non-profit draws the attention of investigative journalist and lawyer David Halperin. He begins writing about Barney and his schools, revealing that the schools continue to be run as if they were for-profit. In the first article he points to the high student loan default rates and quotes a letter from one employee describing the lack of integrity in recruiting: “Our admission representatives are required to enroll anyone and everyone. All entrance and diagnostic testing has been eliminated … Toothless and homeless people are not marketable and will never pay back student loans. We still enroll them. ... Our director said, ‘Get 40 people and I don’t care what you say or do to get them.’ ” 
2013 September 27: Two former employees file a whistleblower lawsuit against CEHE, claiming that it paid commissions to recruiters for signing up new students, in violation of its agreement for participating in the federally guaranteed loan program. (For what it’s worth,  the following year the U.S. Justice Department ratifies the whistleblower’s claims and joins the lawsuit.) The case has not yet gone to trial. 
2014 December 1: The Colorado attorney general (a Republican) files a lawsuit against CEHE, Carl Barney (chairman), and Eric Juhlin (CEO). The complaint, numbering 34 pages, claims that Barney’s CollegeAmerica consistently misled students about the selectivity of the school, the transferability of credits, the jobs they could obtain and the salaries they could earn, systematically fleecing students and taxpayers. 
2015 March 2: The New York Times publishes an article about the for-profit to non-profit conversion, saying that Barney would acquire a lot of money as a result. Barney denies it. 
2016 August 11: The Education Department rejects CEHE’s application to be treated as a non-profit. Then-Secretary John King writes: “This should send a clear message to anyone who thinks converting to non-profit status is a way to avoid oversight while hanging onto the financial benefits: Don’t waste your time.” 
2016 August 30: CEHE files a lawsuit against the Department of Education accusing it of pursuing a political agenda.
2017 mid-October: The trial regarding the Colorado lawsuit begins in Denver District Court.
2018 December: Then-Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, whose top aide once served as a paid consultant to CEHE, reverses the decision of 11 August 2016 (see above). 
2018 December 19: CEHE withdraws its lawsuit of 30 August 2016 (see above).
2019 April 12: The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which tries to prevent abuses of private student loans, begins investigating CEHE. 
2019 May 2: The Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) places CEHE on probation.
2020 August 21: The Denver District Court (see 2014 December 1 & 2017 mid-October above) finds that CEHE, CollegeAmerica, Stevens-Henager, Carl Barney, and Eric Juhlin violated the Colorado Consumer Protection Act, fining them $3 million and issuing an injunction against further infractions.  (Barney et al are appealing the decision.) Not long afterwards Barney tries to prevent public access to the trial transcript. 
2021 April 22: By this time all of Barney’s brick and mortar schools are closed or in the process of closing, with only the entirely online school Independence University still functioning normally. Now the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) terminates Independence University’s accreditation. 
2021 April 23: The Department of Education suspends CEHE from participating in contracts or other programs of the federal government, including Title IV guaranteed loans, Pell and GI grants. Addressed to Eric Juhlin, Barney’s right-hand man: “... you were well aware of, and complicit in, the fraudulent practices upon which the court based its findings. Your suspension from participation in federal procurement is necessary both to avoid the erosion of public confidence in the integrity of governmental programs and to protect federal funds from misuse.” [12 again]
The notice of suspension contains a summary of the complaints against Barney and his schools. By this time Barney has stepped down as chairman of CEHE though still on the board of directors, calling himself chairman emeritus, and Juhlin is now chairman. Both Barney and Juhlin may have received the same letter; I only have a copy of one to Juhlin:
In November 2020 CEHE produced a video titled “Town Hall with Your Host Eric Juhlin” and sent it to all CEHE employees. In it Juhlin denounces the recent Colorado decision against CEHE and the people who are attacking CEHE. This stands out:
If Barney’s second career does come to what would be an ignoble end, he has a third career in the making as the power behind the wanna-be successor to the moribund Ayn Rand Institute, the Objective Standard Institute.