BBC News Investigation Reveals Thousands of UK Nationals Bought Fake Degrees from Diploma Mill

Diploma Mills

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

Thousands of United Kingdom (UK) nationals have purchased fake degrees from a multi-million dollar diploma mill in Pakistan with buyers including National Health Service (NHS) consultants, nurses, and a large defense contractor, a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) News investigation has discovered.

A BBC Radio 4’s File on Four program investigation found a “staggering” trade in worthless diploma mill degrees – including one British buyer who spent almost £500,000 – from Axact, a Pakistani firm claiming to be the “world’s largest IT company” that operated a network of hundreds of fake online universities.

BBC News reports more than 3,000 fake master’s degrees, doctorates, and PhDs from Axact were sold to UK-based buyers in 2013 and 2014. A list of Axact UK buyers revealed various NHS clinical staff bought diploma mill degrees including “an ophthalmologist, nurses, a psychologist, and numerous consultants.”

While the General Medical Council (GMC) told BBC News employers needed to verify any qualifications additional to medical degrees, Higher Education Degree Datacheck (HEDD) chief executive Jayne Rowley said only 20 percent of UK employers ran proper checks on applicant qualifications, BBC News reports.

Though buying a fake diploma is not illegal in the UK, using a fake degree from a diploma mill to apply for employment in the UK constitutes fraud by misrepresentation and can result in a 10-year prison sentence. The complete story from BBC News is available at www.bbc.com/news/uk-42579634.

In August 2017, ESR News reported that Umair Hamid, 31, of Karachi, Pakistan pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and was sentenced to 21 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $5,303,020 for his role in an international diploma mill scheme that operated through Karachi, Pakistan-based Axact.

Diploma mill providers that sell worthless degrees without requiring academic achievement make an estimated $200 million annually, according to College Choice. Warning signs of a diploma mill include no exams and instant degrees within 30 days of application in exchange for lump sums of money.

“A diploma mill creates a danger to employers since educational achievements tell a great deal about a job applicant’s ability, qualifications, and motivation,” explains Attorney Lester Rosen, founder and CEO of Employment Screening Resources® (ESR), a global background check firm located in California USA.

In the U.S., the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) has a Database of Institutions and Programs Accredited by Recognized United States Accrediting Organizations and the U.S. Department of Education has a Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs to fight diploma mills.

ESR Provides Domestic and International Verifications for U.S. Employers

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) offers education and employment verifications to help firms avoid the public embarrassment and damage to reputation that can result from falsified credentials. To learn more, please visit www.esrcheck.com/Background-Checks/Verifications-References/.

ESR has international capabilities in over 240 countries and territories and uses a highly-specialized network of in-country sources that undertake the physical work in the jurisdictions around the world. To learn more, please visit www.esrcheck.com/Background-Checks/ESR-Global-Solutions/.

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