ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A new investigation found a City of Albuquerque employee used a bachelor’s degree from a bogus online college to get his job. That could change the way the city double-checks resumes.
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Stories about government workers using these “diploma mills” to land jobs or pay raises have been popping up around the country in recent years. “We found everything from school teachers, school principals, head of board of education, government employees,” said Allen Ezell, a retired FBI agent.
According to the city’s human resources director, the department verifies the accreditation of a candidate’s highest degree. In this case, the University of Phoenix, from which the senior affairs employee actually did receive a master’s degree. However, according to the city’s Inspector General, the Senior Affairs employee used an undergrad degree from Madison University in Mississippi to qualify for that master’s and the University of Phoenix admissions mistook Madison University for James Madison University — a real college.
Madison U, which seems to be out of business now, was not recognized as a real school and labeled a “diploma mill”, where diplomas are essentially sold for thousands of dollars.
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Real students from the Univerisity of New Mexico say it’s disappointing people pay for degrees they work hard to earn. “It’s a lot, in order to get the correct amount of credits we have to take like ten classes per semester sometimes and it gets very, very stressful and it’s really difficult,” says Shane Hall.
“If somebody gets picked over me just because they bought it online, they don’t deserve it. That’d make me furious,” said another student, Devlin Shaver.
Now, there are recommendations in place to require job candidates to provide official hard copy transcripts to prove they actually went to school and got a degree. Oddly enough, the report found no evidence the employee tried to deceive the city during the hiring process. KRQE News 13 asked the Inspector General’s Office to clarify what that means — and were given a no comment.