How many bogus documents can a single diploma mill
sell? A lot. The Justice Department says a diploma mill in the state of
Washington sold more than $6.2 million in fraudulent academic documents to more
than 9,000 individuals.
A federal judge recently sentenced a man to 36 months
in federal prison for his role in conducting a worldwide diploma mill that
operated out of the Spokane area. Prosecutors said he operated the diploma mill
with his wife and six others.
The Justice Department alleged that from August 1999
to August 2005, the group operated an Internet-based diploma business selling
false and fraudulent academic products. The products included high school
degrees, college and graduate-level degrees (e.g., Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of
Sciences, Master of Arts, Master of Sciences, and Doctor of Philosophy),
fabricated academic transcripts, and "professorships."
Prosecutors said the group created numerous
fictitious academic institutions, including:
Saint Regis University ; James Monroe University ;
Robertstown University ; Holy Acclaim University ; Ameritech University ; Fort
Young University ; Pan America University ; All Saints American University;
American Capital University ; Blackstone University ; Capital America University
; Hampton Bay University; Hartland University; Intech University; Nation State
University; New Manhattan University and Graduate Institute; North United
University; Port Rhode University; St. Lourdes University; Saint Renoir
University; Stanley State Graduate University; Van Ives University; West
American University; International MBA Institute.
They also sold counterfeit diplomas and academic
products purporting to be from legitimate academic institutions, such as the
University of Maryland , George Washington University , Missouri University, and
Texas A&M University, prosecutors said.
Who bought the bogus degrees? The Spokesman Review
obtained and published a list of the buyers of the documents. The buyers
included some who used email addresses with extensions of .mil (130), .gov (17)
or .edu (39), the newspaper reported.