Are still a thing. And I see John Bear is still kicking. My first job in continuing education was an advisor in an external degree program (Way, way before the internet--hence the term external instead of online.). Our program was favorably mentioned in Bear's book, and we got a lot of referrals from in. That was just 37 years ago. Sigh. From CBS MoneyWatch.
Your MD may have a phony degree
There's little reason to doubt that sales of degrees have only become even more prevalent since a federal probe executed from 1989 to 1991. It was dubbed "DIPSCAM" for "Diploma Scam," and resulted in the dismantling of 40 phony schools, 19 federal grand jury indictments, 20 convictions and the purchase of 40 diplomas and transcripts.
"Our best guestimate is there are 5,000 diploma mills at any one time, and probably the same number of fake accrediting agencies," said Allen Ezell, a 31-year FBI veteran who helped run DIPSCAM. "I'm not paranoid, but it's everywhere," he added.
Federal agents identified 12,500 graduates of the 40 fake schools, and those who had purchased bogus degrees included "federal, state and county employees," Ezell (Bear's co-author) told CBS MoneyWatch. "Graduates were employed in business, education, law enforcement, military and in the medical field."
A 2006 paper published in the Hofstra Labor and Employment Law Journal cited congressional testimony for some startling data, including an estimate from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education that one of six education doctorates are fraudulent.
"Even more disturbing, an extrapolation of the percentage of people holding fake diplomas in the medical field revealed potentially 2 million 'bogus practitioners' in the United States," wrote Creola Johnson, a law professor at Ohio State University. "The testimonial evidence concluded that at least 500,000 Americans hold fake degrees."
Many of those holding fake MDs are "small-town doctors that have military field medic training and can do stitches or an injection," said Bear, who like Ezell, works as a consultant. "Many are smart enough to know if they can't handle a case, they pass it on."
But unfortunately, that doesn't always happen. Bear, who started tracking bogus institutions while writing a guide to earning a degree through distance learning, was an expert witness in a manslaughter case in North Carolina against two men who had purchased doctors' IDs for $100 purporting to be from the University of London.