A bogus further education and training (FET) college which operated for at least 12 years was closed down in Seshego near Polokwane, the Hawks said on Tuesday.
Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said the 57-year-old college owner, his 45-year-old wife and a 31-year-old accomplice had been arrested.
The investigation into the college was initiated after the department of higher education received enquiries from students wanting to know whether the college was registered with the department.
A total of R69 250 in cash was seized at the college's two campuses along with computers containing student information and other documentation.
The college had been operating in Seshego for the past 12 years, while its Polokwane campus had opened its doors in 2012.
Mulaudzi said the owner claimed it had been registered with the department as Seshego Commercial and Computer College.
Mulaudzi said it was not clear how the college went undetected for so long.
"It is really disturbing. Twelve years down the line you have all thse students whose qualifications are not recognised."
The three are expected to appear in the Seshego Magistrate's Court on Wednesday on charges of fraud.