REPORT: Investigators Uncover Alleged ‘Pay-To-Play’ Scheme Inside D.C. Cosmetology Licensing Board

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Frances Floresca Contributor
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The District of Columbia’s licensing department is actively investigating a former board member over the alleged selling of fraudulent licenses.

D.C.’s Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection (DLCP) informed ABC 7News that it is investigating a former member of the board, Olivia French, over selling fraudulent cosmetology and barber licenses. French also owned a beauty school called the French Institute, which had not been licensed to operate since 2015. (RELATED: Woman Pleads Guilty After Setting Up A Fake Beauty School To Scam The VA Out Of Millions)

French allegedly asked if former commercial airline pilot David Brunson wanted to open a beauty school in 2021. He jumped on the opportunity and was ready to open a school at French’s old location, according to ABC 7News. Brunson, however went back on the plan after he discovered that French had allegedly been selling fraudulent licenses to students for thousands of dollars, according to the outlet. He alleges that attempts to warn the board and city officials were ignored.

Under the alleged scheme, students got licenses without taking required classes or passing exams. When submitting their applications to the school, they wrote that they attended French’s closed beauty school.

French said she was “guilty” in her “pay-to-play” scheme. She also allegedly gave money to an accomplice in the DLCP to obtain the fraudulent licenses, ABC 7News reported.

Scott Taylor of ABC 7News asked if French took the tests for the students.

“Some of  them I took tests. Some of them [her accomplice] just went into the computer,” French said.

“And just got the licenses?” Taylor asked.

“And printed the licenses off,” she added.”

In order to obtain a cosmetology or barber’s license in D.C., individuals need 1,500 hours of classes and pass an exam according to the D.C. government website.