Infamous frauds who faked their uni degrees

Why spend years of your life studying when you could buy a pack degree for a couple of hundred bucks?

Universities make you fork out tens of thousands of dollars to sit in a room and try and stay awake while an old person talks at you. This is why some people decide to save time and money by purchasing fake degrees, thus dispensing with the tediousness of studying. I mean, why would anyone bother spending a decade or more slogging their way to a doctoral degree? For the bargain price of $235, you can by one off the shelf from reputable websites like phonydiploma.com.

Of course, many professional bodies and employers conduct rigorous background checks these days to verify people’s qualifications. But if you’re lucky, you could fake it for long enough to make it, just like these naughty characters.

Stein Bagger

“Danish Entrepreneur of the Year” Stein Bagger was the CEO of IT Factory, a company named “Denmark’s best IT company” twice in a row by magazine Computerworld. He was also the holder of a doctoral degree (PhD) from San Francisco Technical University, which sounds mighty impressive… if you ignore the fact that no such university has ever existed.

Mr Bagger went to great lengths to hide his deception, to the point of hiring an actress to impersonate a university official who would explain to anyone that enquired that Mr Bagger’s doctoral degree was indeed genuine.

Eventually, a pesky freelance journalist found out that his degrees were fake. It also turned out that the profits of his company, IT Factory, were also fake. The company went bankrupt in 2008 and Bagger was convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison, but was released after doing five.

Gene Morrison

Doctor Gene Morrison was a British forensic scientist who was founder of an investigation firm called the ‘Criminal and Forensic Investigations Bureau’. He was also the holder of certificates for a Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science, a Masters in Forensic Investigation and a Doctorate in Criminology so it’s little wonder he was asked to give evidence in hundreds of court hearings, including armed robbery, rape and unexplained death cases.

The problem is, Doctor Morrison wasn’t really a doctor at all. After being found out, he admitted to police that he’d purchased his degree certificates via post in 1977. As one might expect, he ended up doing serious time in jail.

Russell Oakes

Veterinarian Russell Oakes graduated from Murdoch University in Perth… or so his certificate said. But people started to get suspicious after he badly botched the castration of someone’s pony. As it turned out, he bought his certificate from ‘The Diploma Centre’, an online business selling fake degrees.  Oakes handed over $NZ480 and The Diploma Centre sent him an ‘official’ certificate stating that he was qualified in veterinary science.

Oakes was a wily fellow and pulled all sorts of stunts to maintain his deception. He pretended to be studying full time and claimed to have been required on occasion to work night shifts at an animal hospital. As part of the elaborate charade, he would often turn up looking ruffled and dishevelled in order to lend credence to his story of having working through the night.

Fortunately, the victim pony’s life was saved by someone with a real degree in veterinary science.  Oakes was jailed for two years.

 

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