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NYC Firemen Fined for Using Fake College Degrees

The Fire Department of New York City (FDNY) has fined 14 firemen a total of $135,000 for using fake college degrees to meet educational requirements to either secure a job or to be promoted on the job.

This esteemed fire department, highlighted in the news for heroic efforts on and after September 11th, 2001, is determined to maintain the high standards for which it is known.  Coursework in fire science, business law and business administration was listed on the resumes of the fined firefighters; but the classes were never taken.

Prompted by findings revealed in a January report by the New York City Department of Investigation (DOI), the FDNY discovered that the degrees claimed by the 14 firefighters were purchased from Internet diploma mills. The firemen attended no classes and completed no coursework. These degree mills simply faked the diplomas and transcripts for work that was never done; and in some cases even backdated the degrees to meet specific job requirement dates.

Many of the firemen purchased their diplomas from Saint Regis University, which was recently shut down by authorities. It was based in Liberia and had no campus, no curriculum and no professors. Those operating the phony school have since been indicted for mail and wire fraud.

This illegal business should not be confused with Regis University, which was established in 1877 by the Jesuits and is an accredited university based in Denver, Colorado. Diploma mills often choose business names that are almost identical to the name of a reputable college. They are banking on the fact that people will not notice the slight name differences.

With over 9,000 accredited online degree programs available, these firemen had a myriad of educational choices. Through distance learning, an online associate degree (AA) could have been completed in two years; and an online bachelor’s degree (BA) in four years from schools approved by the U.S. Department of Education.

But perhaps some good has come out of all of this. The FDNY has tightened up their employment procedures so that phony degrees can be spotted early in the hiring process. No diploma mill degrees will be accepted; and that is great news.

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