HR Strange But True!
February 08, 2007

The New York City Department of Investigation (DOI) has found that more than a dozen members of the city's fire department submitted bogus degrees so they could earn promotions--and that some of those who admitted using fake diplomas came up with some interesting justifications.

The DOI found that 14 members of the New York City Fire Department purchased bogus diplomas on the Internet and submitted them to the department in an attempt to earn promotions to the ranks of deputy chief, battalion chief, and captain.

One individual admitted that he paid about $600 to receive a bachelor's degree in business management from Hartland University, even though he completed no coursework to earn the degree.

While the individual submitted transcripts that said he received an A- in a business law course, he had never taken such a class. However, he told investigators that he spoke frequently with his neighbor who was a lawyer. Apparently, his contributions to those discussions weren't worthy of a full A.

In another case, an individual told the department that he had earned a bachelor's degree in fire science, even though investigators found that his studies included no courses and no tests. His transcripts reported that he earned a grade of B+ for a course in wildland fire management. He maintained that the credits were justified because he had "read books on the subject in the past." With a little improvement in his reading, maybe he'll earn an A next time.

Investigators say that many of the 14 city employees said their degrees were justified because of "life experiences."

"By submitting bogus degrees these individuals undermined the hard work of those who legitimately earned their degrees, and they compromised the credibility of the promotion process in the FDNY," says Rose Gill Hearn, DOI commissioner. "The Fire Department accepted some of the worthless diplomas, obtained from an Internet diploma mill, because the Department did not take sufficient steps to verify their authenticity. Fortunately, the Fire Department has now improved the efforts with which they verify degrees."

Source: The Department of Investigation

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