State stops company from selling fake academic degrees

SOUTH BEND Ind.

Two Michigan City men accused of selling fake Indiana University degrees and transcripts online have shut down the Web sites after the state filed a lawsuit against them.

It was too early to determine how many fake degrees had been issued or how long the Web sites had been in operation, Attorney General Steve Carter said at a news conference Thursday. He said he did not know if the two Web sites DiplomasAndMore.com run by Michael J. Everett and DocumentProfessionals.com run by David Schoettlin offered degrees from other colleges.

The sites also offered fake high school and GED diplomas, Carter said. The lawsuit filed June 27 seeks up to $5,000 for every fake college degree issued.

A telephone message seeking comment was left Thursday by The Associated Press at the office of their attorney, George Ivancevich. There were no telephone listings for Everett or Schoettlin.

The men agreed to a preliminary injunction shutting down their sites. They also agreed to not sell any more documents and not destroy any records.

Carter said selling degrees online devalues legitimate diplomas and can be dangerous.

“It’s important to recognize how the public can be harmed if some day an individual uses a phony diploma or phony transcript to get a degree that they haven’t earned, they may be putting the public in harm’s way,” he said.

Carter is not aware of anyone using a fake degree to obtain a job.

People falsely claiming academic degrees is a nationwide problem, Carter said. He pointed to the dean of admissions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology resigning in April after acknowledging she misrepresented her academic credentials. In another high-profile case, George O’Leary resigned as football coach at Notre Dame after just five days, admitting he lied about his academic and athletic records.

It is the second time in six months Carter’s office has taken action against someone for allegedly selling fake college diplomas on the Internet. A Marion County judge approved a preliminary injunction against Allen R. Kleiman, owner of Noveltyworksdegrees.com, in December after Carter accused him of selling fake college and high school diplomas. Carter said that case is continuing.

In the Michigan City case, investigators for Carter’s office purchased one master’s of business administration degree from Indiana University for $64.95. Another investigator paid $178.85 for a master of business administration degree from the Indiana University of Kelly School of Business. The correct name is the Kelley School of Business.

–Associated Press



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