By Lester Rosen, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) President & Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Editor

An article titled ‘Fake Michigan doctor had hospitals fooled’ by the Detroit Free Press shows why employers should run background checks that include education and credential verifications on medical professionals to ensure they are licensed after a 15-year charade in which a man passed himself off as a doctor ended with a routine background check.

A 58-year-old “doctor and PhD researcher” in Michigan who lined up millions of dollars in research grants and consulting fees directing simulated medical exercises to train hospital staffers resigned after being uncovered as a fraud when calls to the University of Wisconsin confirmed the man had simulated a few facts about himself, the Free Press reports.

The ruse had hospital administrators wondering how a person with no medical or doctoral degree could have fooled some of the best in medicine for so long. After billing himself as a doctor, researcher, and certified pilot – with only the latter being true – the falsifications were revealed during a routine background check on a federal grant application.

The Free Press reports that for some reason the phony doctor’s résumé with false references was not vetted by either medical administration or human resources departments at the hospital, and the embarrassing episode has prompted tighter scrutiny of applications. Fortunately, the fake doctor never treated patients and did not apply for physician admitting privileges.

A medical ethicist at Michigan State University quoted in the article said the case shows that medical and academic institutions should follow the rules that should in place to catch possible falsifications. “Always check credentials. There’s just no excuse for not checking credentials. It’s kind of a no-brainer.”

This story – and other such stories about phony professionals falsifying employment histories or education credentials – shows the need for employers to run background checks on all professionals since they cannot simply assume they are licensed.

As reported earlier on ESR News, education and credential falsification is a surprisingly common occurrence, and a rapidly growing problem, as evidenced by the following stories:

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a leading provider of background checks accredited by the National Association of Background Screeners (NAPBS) – offers background screening that include verifications of credentials and education. ESR has extensive procedures to ensure that any school is legitimate and not a so-called “diploma mill” (also known as a “degree mill”), an organization that awards academic degrees and diplomas with substandard or no academic study and without recognition by official educational accrediting bodies. The terms “diploma mill” and “degree mill” may apply to:

  • A “real” degree from a fake college.
  • A fake degree from a real college.

ESR also has a wealth of material on the subject of academic fraud including an article by ESR’s founder and President Lester Rosen, “The Basics of Educational Verifications” at In addition, the Additional Links page in the ESR Resource Center contains information on states with lists of fraudulent schools as well as how to find real accredited schools at:

Founded in 1996 in the San Francisco Bay area, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) is the company that wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR founder and President Lester Rosen. Employment Screening Resources is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) for proving compliance with the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP). ESR was the third U.S. background check firm to be ‘Safe Harbor’ Certified for data privacy protection. To learn more about ESR’s Leadership, Resources, and Solutions, visit or contact Jared Callahan, ESR Director of Client Relations, at 415.898.0044 or [email protected].