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What if you claim a PhD and don't have one

  1. Jun 3, 2006 #1
    Say you're a quack and that you want to gain credibility as a scientist. And you do two things to do so:

    1) You make up a PhD from a good University. Say Berkeley.

    2) You claim a professorship to a university but never had one. Say Harvard.

    Is it illegal to do so? What action can be taken against you for you to stop? Can either of the universities sue the quack? What else can happen?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 3, 2006 #2
    Why, what are you planning?
     
  4. Jun 3, 2006 #3
    No no, not for me. But if you want you can imagine that I did it. I just mean if someone did this, what could happen to them? Also, in that scenario, would there be a difference in what Berkeley could do and what Harvard could do?
     
  5. Jun 3, 2006 #4

    Astronuc

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    Usually a person making false and misleading statements would be fired, and the institution or persons who were 'harmed' by the fraud could sue for damages. As for criminal prosecution, that depends on the laws concerning fraud.

    As soon as the fraud is discovered, one looses any and all credibility.
     
  6. Jun 3, 2006 #5

    arildno

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    Well, I believe it is a felony to fake a PhD diploma, but I'm not sure.
     
  7. Jun 3, 2006 #6
    Thanks. Okay, how about if the person only claimed a professorship that never occured, and did not hold a professorship or any position with an institution (simply because he never did)? Do you know if there's a name for this type of fraud? I really don't know, this is very new ground for me but a situation has come up in my real life and I'm not sure how to proceed.
     
  8. Jun 3, 2006 #7
    One question that usually arises and often makes fraud hard to prosecute is intent. If it can be proved that the person faked or claimed false qualifications with the intent to obtain financial advantage then that is fraud. Fraud charges are sometimes dismissed if the perpertrator claims that it was a mistake (I thought I was a professor) and no financial benefit was obtained.
     
  9. Jun 3, 2006 #8
    "I thought I was a professor" ?

    :uhh:
     
  10. Jun 3, 2006 #9
    In grade 12 chemistry, my friend wrote "Dr." in front of his name on an organics test....all th teacher did was scratch it out :biggrin:
     
  11. Jun 3, 2006 #10
    "I thought I was a professor." Sounds pretty stupid to most of us, but ask an experienced lawyer, sillier claims than this have seen people escape in court.
     
  12. Jun 3, 2006 #11

    Danger

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    This is probably something that varies from one jurisdiction to another. Mr. Worm (or may I call you Silk?), the best approach is probably to consult a legal professional in your area. If that isn't practical, at least hit the library or net to find out what laws are applicable where you live. I could easily find out what the consequences would be here, but it most likely wouldn't do you any good.
     
  13. Jun 3, 2006 #12

    BobG

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    It depends on how 'public' the position is. If the person isn't holding a position where the fraud will embarrass the organization, the organization is fairly likely to do nothing about it (of course, if the organization looked into the person's credentials because the person was incompetent, then discovering the fake degree is pretty much a guarantee the person will be dismissed). Here's a few examples: Fake PhD's uncovered

    I have to wonder why the person would want a fake PhD when non-fake PhD's can be obtained at this website: Accredited Non-fake Online Degrees. You can get your accredited, non-fake, online PhD in only seven days! If you're lucky, the mailman will even hum 'Pomp and Circumstance' while you open the envelope. :rofl:
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2006
  14. Jun 3, 2006 #13

    Moonbear

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    I think it would depend on the circumstances of how they used that ruse, who they deceived, and for what gain. For example, if they're just spouting off nonsense while drunk in a bar, nobody is going to care. But, if they sign a book deal based on the publisher believing they have the expertise they claim, then the publisher could probably sue them for fraud and losses of sales when it becomes public knowledge. I don't know what the universities could do, other than potentially sue for some sort of royalties or licensing fees for the use of their name without "permission" and for financial gain if this is something being used to profit in some way, such as the aforementioned book sale example. If anyone actually believed their claims, and it somehow hurt the reputation of the university, there might be some other damages the university could sue for that would be specific to any harm caused by the actions of the person with the false claims.

    If the person making such a claim had acquired any credibility at all, they'd lose it all when it became public knowledge, and fired if they held a job that was obtained using such fake credentials.

    That's all just my guess anyway, that it would be specific to who was harmed, and in what way. I think, for the most part, it doesn't take long to discover someone does not hold a degree they claim, and is even easier to discover they are not employed as they claim, so it's unlikely too much damage would result from it for legal action to be taken.
     
  15. Jun 3, 2006 #14

    Hootenanny

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    :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
     
  16. Jun 3, 2006 #15

    arildno

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    What's wrong with a worm with a silken feel to it?? :confused:
     
  17. Jun 3, 2006 #16

    Hootenanny

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    Nothing, I just found Danger's comment amusing.

    ~H
     
  18. Jun 3, 2006 #17

    Evo

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    "A recently released U.S. General Accounting Office study identified 28 senior federal executives who claimed bogus degrees from diploma mills. In eight agencies examined, GAO inspectors found 463 federal employees with fake college degrees. Some of the illicit degrees were paid for with tax dollars. The GAO's report noted that despite the seemingly large number of resume frauds it identified, "this number is believed to be an understatement." Three of the twenty-eight senior officials worked in the National Nuclear Security Administration, with top-secret security clearances and "emergency operations responsibilities." The government's response: so far, only one of the frauds identified by the GAO has been forced to resign."

    That's incredible, do they not do simple background checks on these people?
     
  19. Jun 3, 2006 #18
    :eek: :uhh: :surprised :confused: :grumpy: :frown: :devil: :rolleyes: :mad: :yuck: :cry:
     
  20. Jun 3, 2006 #19

    Pengwuino

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    From my understanding, they check your background so thoroughly that all they need is a rectal examination and they'd know everything there is to know about you :rofl: :rofl: So this is pretty strange.
     
  21. Jun 3, 2006 #20
    The worst Doctorate claim I've seen is by a doctor who worked for the national health service for twenty years it boggles the mind how much damage this man could have done:eek:
     
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