Fermilab Physicist Reports on Phony Degrees Federal Trade Commission Officials Coming to See Results of Investigation

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Byline: Gala M. Pierce Daily Herald Staff Writer

When particle physicist George Gollin received some e-mail spam that promised a degree from a university in 10 days, he became curious.

With an Internet search, the University of Illinois Urbana- Champaign professor discovered a bogus Parkwood University and dozens of nonaccredited schools that offer fake diplomas for the right price.

"They're not in the business of selling education, they are in the business of selling credentials," said Gollin, who shared his findings during the weekly colloquium lecture Wednesday at Fermilab.

Gollin, who has worked on several experiments at the Batavia lab, identified other phony universities such as Saint Regis, Lexington, Ashford and Robertstown. He said he was offered an associate of arts for about a grand, a doctorate for about $1,200 and competency exams for "what he already knew" to qualify for degrees.

His inquiries grew from amusement, but then he saw the seriousness as some people apparently have been attaining prominent jobs with such false credentials. Gollin found a woman - who claimed to have a Ph.D. in forensics psychology - employed at a high-profile company. …