How many unknown 2500 players are there floating around? One would be inclined to say none. One would be wrong.
Raymond Duque of Texas, currently rated 2559, has seen his rating creep up steadily since 2002. During this period, he faced exactly two opponents rated over 2200. Of course, he faced them multiple times. In four-player round-robins. Directed by Duque. One of them has played in exactly four tournaments, all directed by Duque. His current rating: 2504. He’s not on the FIDE list, and there is no evidence he has ever played before in the U.S. In some other tournaments, Duque out-rated his opponents by well over 1000 points.
Does all this prove that any of the tournaments were fixed? No. Suspicion is not proof. Do the results prove that Duque deserves a 2500 rating? Emphatically no. Do his actions prove that Duque should be relieved of his Senior TD status? In my opinion as an NTD, yes. Even if his honesty is assumed, his judgment is appalling.
The USCF has some safeguards in place against artificially lowering ratings – heavy-handed, but reasonably effective. Little attention has been given to the artificial inflation of ratings, perhaps because the benefits to the scofflaw are less obvious. It may be time for that to change. The only recent example was former EB member Robert Tanner (who, despite being forced to resign from the Board, got off far too easily in my opinion). Once is chance. Twice … is something the USCF should begin taking seriously.