News for Public Officials and the People They Serve

Documents and links used to research "Some Officials Not What They Seem"


What is Probably Cause?

Fort Bend Herald-Coaster

A detailed editorial explanation of Fort Bend County Clerk Dianne Wilson's Grand Jury indictment, repayment, dismissal and eventual expunction.


GAO Report - Diploma Mills

Senior-Level Federal Employees Have Degrees from Unaccredited Schools


Bogus Degrees and Unmet Expectations:
Are Taxpayer Dollars Subsidizing Diploma Mills?

U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs
May 11 – 12, 2004
Prepared by Ayoko Vias, Administrative Assistant, NASULGC


Kennedy-Western University, an unaccredited school and a diploma mill, earned short of $25 million in 2003 and currently has almost 10, 000 students enrolled


"Diploma mills, as defined by the General Accounting Office, are “businesses that sell bogus academic degrees based upon life or other experience or substandard or negligible academic work.” . . .


Public Safety: They are a danger to society as a whole when the job in question is critical to public safety, or involves significant responsibility and the person in that position holds a bogus degree and is not qualified to do the job.

Deceptive: They attract a broad range of potential students by assuming an air of legitimacy
Equity: Diploma mills are unfair to those who work long and hard for legitimate degrees, and who might get passed over for a raise or promotion based upon an employer’s misunderstanding of what a diploma mill degree truly represents
Value: They deceive and swindle money out of students who think they have received
legitimate degrees only to find out the degree is not worth the paper it was printed on and
is not accepted by many employers
Job Qualification: They are unfair to employers who hire employees thinking they have the knowledge, experience, and qualifications to perform certain jobs when in fact they don’t.

Read the full text



Tuesday, May 4, 2004 · Last updated 12:53 p.m. PT

Some using fake degrees to get pay raises




Using a bogus degree to get a job or promotion is illegal only in Oregon, New Jersey, Indiana, Illinois, North Dakota

and Nevada, where it is a misdemeanor mainly punishable by fines ranging from $350 to $2,500. But violators rarely

face prosecution.



The Chronicle of Higher Education Special Report

From the issue dated June 25, 2004


Psst. Wanna Buy a PhD.?

Some professors have dubious doctorates, other professors sell them, and colleges often look the other way

General Overview of the Regulation of Degree Granting in Texas for Private Colleges not yet Accredited, Career Schools and Colleges, and Out-of-State Private and Public Colleges and Universities Out-of-State Public Postsecondary Institutions Interested in Offering Courses of Instruction Leading to Degrees in Texas or Using Certain Academic Terms in Texas

Any public out-of-state institution interested in granting degrees, or offering courses of instruction leading to degrees in Texas, is subject to regulation under the Texas Education Code, Chapter 61, Subchapter H.

Under Coordinating Board rules, public out-of-state institutions must meet the same standards for operation as private institutions. Therefore, any public out-of-state institution that wishes to operate in Texas with the authority to grant degrees or credits toward degrees, advertise degrees or credits towards degrees, or use certain academic terminology in naming or designating the educational institution (e.g., use the term“college,” “university,” “law school,” etc.) must have a certificate of authority from the Coordinating Board or be exempt from this requirement. An “exempt” out-of-state public institution is one that is accredited to offer degrees at a specific level by an accrediting agency recognized by the Coordinating Board.9


Diploma Mill Operators Hit With Court Judgments

March 18, 2005
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has obtained judgments against two brothers who operated Trinity Southern University, a for-profit Dallas-based "university" that issued fraudulent degrees.


Diploma mills insert degree of fraud into job market

By Stephanie Armour, USA TODAY

U.S.A. Today

Posted 9/28/2003 10:42 PM     Updated 9/29/2003 12:48 AM

"It could ultimately lead to a dangerous situation where someone is hired for a sensitive position," says Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who has been leading the federal charge to crack down on federal workers with phony degrees. "It could result in a completely unqualified person being hired."

FTC Consumer Alert

Diploma Mills: Degrees of Deception

Most employers and educational institutions consider it lying if you claim academic credentials that you didn't earn through actual course work. Federal officials say it’s risky behavior: If you use a so-called “degree” from a diploma mill to apply for a job or promotion, you risk not getting hired, getting fired, and in some cases, prosecution.


Wired News
Phony Degrees a Hot Net Scam
by Kendra Mayfield
Some college degrees aren't worth the parchment they're printed on.
Some say that although people who sign up for diploma mills may be defrauded, the real victims are unknowing employers and the public.

World Net Daily

Government inundated with phony degrees
Picking up falsified honors is easier, more profitable than ever

Federal investigators say there are thousands of offenders at the federal level, and an untold number at local government levels who use phony degrees to get their jobs and to qualify for higher salaries. Diplomas from bogus colleges and universities can be found on the walls and resumes of employees in the Department of Justice, congressional staff, U.S. Customs, the Department of Defense, NASA, and even the Department of Education. The list includes virtually every government agency"

They know they got a fake degree, and they continued the fraud by holding it up as legitimate. You'd be amazed at how many actually display the thing on their office wall," said one investigator who did not want to be identified because of on-going investigations.  

The ones most commonly used by government employees are said to include:

Columbia State University, Louisiana
La Salle University, Louisiana
Chadwick University, Alabama
American State University, Hawaii
American International University, Alabama
Columbus University, Louisiana
Monticello University, Kansas
Frederick Taylor University, California
Pacific Western University, Hawaii
City University, California
Kennedy Western University, Hawaii
Trinity University, Great Britain
University of San Moritz, Great Britain



The Chronicle of Higher Education

Fighting Fakery

Thomas Bartlett (Moderator):

Alan Contreras administrator of the Oregon Office of Degree Authorization: We think most people who get bogus degrees know what they are getting and hope to get away with it. Most are not victims, they are partners in falsehood.

Contreras:    The advent of the Internet is the single most important tool that diploma mills have. It allows them to operate extremely low-cost marketing from obscure locations, reaching all over the world. It also makes the problem more obvious and will probably result in more anti-diploma mill laws, but in the intervening years the carp owners will become rich.


The Chronicle of Higher Education

March 23, 2001

States Struggle to Regulate Online Colleges That Lack Accreditation

Regulators struggle to crack down on institutions that can relocate quickly


Even in states that have tried to regulate the unaccredited institutions, they continue to thrive. In sparsely populated Wyoming, for example, at least four such colleges have a presence, and a fifth, Rushmore University, is considering moving its office there from South Dakota. But Wyoming students are not flocking to the universities, which instead rely heavily on students from the Middle East and developing countries. An unannounced visit to Kennedy-Western reveals a quiet and stark basement office. No one is seated at the front desk to greet visitors. After several minutes Stephanie Baty, whose business card reads "Wyoming Admissions/Coordinator of Alumni and Corporate Development," appears in the foyer.

Kennedy-Western officials declined to reveal how many students are enrolled at the university or what percentage are from foreign countries. They say it also has offices in Jakarta, Indonesia; Moscow; and Singapore. Detecting Diploma Mills

By David McGlinchey

In May, the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee held hearings on diploma mills, singling out several institutions that had committed particularly egregious fraud or had marketed themselves to federal employees.

When asked about Kennedy-Western's claims, however, a spokeswoman at the Wyoming Department of Education said the state's licensing procedure was never intended to replace the accreditation process. Legitimate schools are expected to seek accreditation, said Deb Hinckley


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