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Regina's deputy city clerk 'embarrassed' by fake degree

Regina's deputy city clerk 'embarrassed' by fake degree
From CBC - September 13, 2017

The deputy clerk for the City of Regina says she is "embarrassed" to learn that her masterof business administration degree comes from a school that is part of the world's largest diploma mill.

Erna Hall said she wondered about an MBA that took less than a year to complete and cost about $1,500 US but she said she also feels duped by Almeda University, which granted her the phoney degree.

"Yes," she said, when asked if she feels deceived by the institution. "And I am taking some ownership."

"When it quacks like a duck and walks like a duckit should have been a duck," she said.

Hall is one of hundreds of people across Canada who could have fake degrees from schools affiliated with a Pakistan-based IT firm called Axact, according to an investigation by CBC's Marketplace.

An international diploma mill

With the help of former Axact employees andcourt documents and by piecing together digital clues online, Marketplace determined Almeda University is part of Axact's vast international diploma mill scheme. Like all the schools Marketplace uncovered, there is no brick-and-mortar campus, just websites where customers can often trade in "life experience" to purchase a degree.

Marketplace producers were also able to purchase two PhDs from Almeda University after a series of phone calls. All Marketplace had to do was provide a backstory over the phone with a "school" representative, detailing work history and education.

For $1,550 US, Marketplace actually received three PhDstwo from Almeda and one from Axact-affiliated Gatesville University. One of the degrees was sent for free. No course work was ever done for any of them.

Almeda University's website went offline this summer.

A lawyer for Axact told Marketplace it does not condone any of the alleged actions done by its "clients" and deniedany claims that it owns these websites.

"Axact does not own or operate any online education websites or schools, and there has never been any evidence produced to show that Axact owns or operates any such websites or schools," said Axact's U.S. lawyer Todd A. Holleman in a written response.

Degree took more than money, Hall says

City official 'sympathizes' with Hall

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