(NaturalNews) While investigating our recent story on the faked academic credentials of a key informant in the Rawesome Foods case in California (http://www.naturalnews.com/036076_Aajonus_Vo...), we received a large number of tips and documents revealing something rather astonishing: There is an epidemic of fake diplomas across America.
The diploma mill known as "Richmonds University" appears to be cited in hundreds of online resumes from people who have attained surprisingly high positions in society. For example, one man named Roy David Williams managed to acquire a fake doctorate in nuclear engineering from Richmonds University, and he went on to be awarded government contracts based on that diploma. He was later prosecuted for fraud (http://www.justice.gov/usao/txn/PressRel09/w...).
Kern County is located in California (Bakersfield), by the way, and the Kern County Bar Association website says, "The Kern County Bar Association provides leadership in advancing the professional interests of the membership and serving the legal interests of the community." (http://www.kernbar.org/index.cfm)
Doctorate in chemical engineering
A New Jersey man, Dr. Kenneth Hofbauer, claims to have received a "Doctorate Degree in Chemical Engineering, 2004, PH.D., Magna cum Laude, Richmonds University, London, England." (http://execmktg.com/khofbauer/education.php)
Being quite the academic, he also claims to have a "Masters of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering, 1998, M.S., Magna cum Laude, Richmonds University, London, England."
Remember as you read this that Richmonds University does not exist as a real entity. The entire thing is fabricated. This is an online diploma mill that produces academic credentials which appear to be legitimate and are designed to fool prospective employers, reporters, clients or anyone else inquiring about a person's academic achievements.
There, you will see "Richmonds University" degrees claimed by law enforcement officers, energy company plant managers, finance capital firms, hotel managers and much more.
Diploma mills offer to sell diplomas for virtually any degree you wish: Nuclear engineering, chemical engineering, physics, MBA degrees, etc. One diploma mill we checked out was www.DiplomaXpress.com which said the only degrees it would not sell are medical degrees and legal degrees. Everything else is fair game (although the site does say, in its small print, that the diplomas are for "novelty purposes only").
Want to get your PhD in civil engineering and get a job at the city manager's office? No problem, you can buy your degree online!
Looking to publish a book with a PhD next to your name and get invited to do interviews and television appearances with the authority of being a "doctor?" No sweat, you can just lay out some cash and you're a doctor!
Want to impress people with your knowledge but don't have time to actually earn an academic degree? Who cares? Whip out your credit card and you've suddenly got a diploma with a gold seal!
In 2004, Laura Callahan resigned from the United States Department Of Homeland Security after it was learned that she had received her doctorate from the unaccredited Hamilton University (not to be confused with the fully accredited Hamilton College in Clinton, New York). Callahan had previously been a senior director at the DHS and held supervisory positions at the United States Department of Labor and within the Bill Clinton White House. According to an article in Reason magazine, "The (Callahan) scandal raises serious doubts about the government's ability to vet the qualifications of public employees on whom the nation's security depends."
Fake transcripts, fake letters of recommendation, fake diplomas and a fake verification service
Thanks to diploma mills, you can purchase online diplomas that come complete with:
• A fake diploma document • Fake transcripts • Fake letters of recommendation • Fake fax and email verification services
I recently interviewed "Jake," a whistleblower who purchased a fake diploma online and wanted to clear his conscience of the matter. Here's what Jake told me on the phone:
Jake: "A friend told me about the website where you could get these diplomas. You sign up under one website, and they redirect you to another site," he told me. "There, you are instructed to send in a descriptive history of everything you've ever done. They asked me to detail all my life experience to see if I would qualify under equivalency."
The way this works, as you may have guessed, is that you describe to the diploma mill all the things you've done in your life, and then they "award" you a fake diploma based on this life experience. And, um... a sizeable payment.
When I asked Jake what life experience he submitted to the diploma mill, he replied, "I coached soccer. I was into sports. I did things involving sports."
"After they reviewed this information," he continued, "they got back to me and said yes I do qualify for the doctorate degree. At that point I paid them some money."
"How much money?" I asked.
"A thousand dollars or so," Jake said. "The rates depended on whether you wanted a full transcript or not, and letters from professors."
A full transcript? Really?
"Yes," Jake said. "They would create a fake transcript showing all the classes you ever took, with class descriptions, credit hours, your grades and everything. They sent it to me as part of the package."
And what about the letters from professors?
"They even offered for an extra fee that they would write letters of recommendation from your professors, and that you could use those letters to get job interviews, or whatever you wanted to use them for."
And how would all this hold up under scrutiny if someone tried to confirm your academic background?
"They sent me a letter that told me how to use all this to deceive employers. They included an email address and a fax number. It said that the fax number would be used to respond to any inquiries, and they would confirm everything about my degree and my transcript. They said it was something about federal law that all employers checking your education have to do it by fax."
All of his documents -- with his real name redacted -- are now archived on NaturalNews:
Most people are far too trusting of other people. They give others the benefit of the doubt and tend to believe anyone who confidently claims to have a "PhD" or other academic credential.
But faked academic credentials are far more common than you might suspect, and the sophistication of the fake diploma factories is impressive. Their fax and email verification services fool most employers, especially when employers like the TSA don't even conduct background checks and end up hiring pedophiles, drug dealers and thieves on a regular basis.
How to not get fooled by fake academic credentials
When someone says to you that they have a PhD in something, you should immediately ask, "From where?" And when they tell you the university, you should check it out and make sure it's real. Better yet, call the alumni office of the university in question and ask to fact check that person's academic credentials.
It is the lack of skepticism among the public that allows fake diploma fraudsters to get away with deception. Using their fake degrees, they often gain recognition or authority that they haven't truly earned. They use this to parlay their way into the media, websites, book publishers or even lucrative salaried positions and government jobs. This only happens because not enough people fact-check academic credentials.
Far too many people make outrageous claims or wildly exaggerate claims of their personal achievements in order to impress others. We all like to speak highly of ourselves, and we all tell small "social lies" to each other ("Does this dress make me look fat?"), but lies about academic training fall into the category of big lies -- especially when they involve other people putting their lives in your hands: Nuclear engineering, civil engineering, nutritional consulting and so on.
To think that people are running around America right now, operating nuclear facilities, building bridges or playing doctor based on nothing more than phony pieces of paper that say "diploma" is horrifying. How many industrial accidents, personal deaths, injuries or catastrophic failures have been caused by people lying their way into a position of authority for which they were not qualified?
Search the internet for "Richmonds University" and you'll be flabbergasted at what you find. Try to buy your own fake diploma and you'll be amazed how easy it is to get one.
Why people so easily believe false symbols of authority
You'll also be amazed at how easy it is to fool most people with a fake degree. People in America today have been brainwashed to believe anything they are told by "authorities." So merely donning the symbols and signs of authority -- such as "Ph.D." -- causes people to unconsciously bow down to your superiority. Hucksters and scam artists exploit this failure to question authority as a key strategy in pulling off their cons.
TSA "officers," by the way, dress up in the costumes of "officers" for exactly the same reason. In truth, they aren't sworn officers at all. They take no oaths of office, they have no law enforcement training, and they technically have no authority whatsoever, operating in total violation of U.S. law and the Bill of Rights. Yet 99.99% of Americans automatically bow down to TSA goons merely because they wear the costume in a law enforcement officer. The outfit you see a TSA goon wearing at the airport is no different from a Ninja costume you might wear on Halloween. Wearing the costume does not make you a Ninja.
People are trained to obey symbols of authority. Why do you think doctors still wear those silly white lab coats around? Why do people take whatever drugs their doctors tell them to take without asking a single skeptical question about the safety of those drugs? Why do fluoride heads line up at pharmacies to be vaccinated with mercury and brain-damaging chemicals? Because they obey authority. And fake diplomas give con artists that same power of false authority over the weak-minded.
For those who currently have fake diplomas and are trying to pass them off as legitimate, I encourage you to ditch the deception and come clean. Sooner or later, someone is going to check into your academic credentials and expose you. It is better to have your reputation and integrity intact than to take the risk of getting caught faking your degree. After all, someone who would fake a degree can't really be trusted on much else, can they? There is a reason it's called "academic fraud."
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About the author:
Mike Adams (aka the "Health Ranger") is the founding editor of NaturalNews.com, the internet's No. 1 natural health news website, now reaching 7 million unique readers a month.
With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource now featuring over 10 million scientific studies.
In addition to being the co-star of the popular GAIAM TV series called Secrets to Health, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.
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