• Saturday, May 27, 2017

Axact executive pleads guilty in 'diploma mill' scam, faces 20 years in US prison

Discussion in 'Social & Current Events' started by FalconsForPeace, Apr 10, 2017.

  1. FalconsForPeace

    FalconsForPeace RESEARCH & DEV

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    An executive of software company Axact has pleaded guilty on Friday before a US Judge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with an international "diploma mill" scheme.

    “Umair Hamid, 31, of Karachi, Pakistan, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison”, read the press release of US Department of Justice.

    Hamid, an executive of Axact, was arrested on Dec 19, 2016, according to a statement by former Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara. He was produced in a federal court in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, the following day.

    “Operating from Pakistan, Umair Hamid helped fraudulently rake in millions of dollars from unwitting American consumers who paid to enrol in, and get degrees from, high schools and colleges that did not exist. As a result of his fraud, people who thought they were investing in an education received nothing more than worthless diplomas and a harsh lesson in the worldwide reach of deceit. Together with our partners at the FBI and the Postal Service, we will continue to work to protect consumers from scams that victimise our citizens.” Acting US Attorney Joon H. Kim was quoted as saying in the US justice department press release.

    Kim praised the outstanding investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US Postal Inspection Service.

    Hamid is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Abrams on July 21, 2017.

    Read the full press release

    Hamid’s Role in the scheme
    Hamid served as Axact’s “Assistant Vice President of International Relations.” Among other things, Hamid made various false and fraudulent representations to consumers in order to sell fake diplomas.

    Hamid controlled websites of purported “schools” that (1) falsely represented that consumers who “enrolled” with the schools by paying tuition fees would receive online instruction and coursework, (2) sold bogus academic “accreditations” in exchange for additional fees, (3) falsely represented that the schools had been certified or accredited by various educational organizations, and (4) falsely represented that the schools’ degrees were valid and accepted by employers, including in the United States.

    As a further part of the scheme, Hamid and a co-conspirator (1) opened bank accounts in the United States in the names of shell entities, effectively controlled by Hamid, that received funds transferred by consumers in exchange for fake diplomas, (2) transferred funds from those bank accounts to bank accounts associated with other entities located elsewhere in the United States and abroad, at the direction of Hamid, and (3) opened and operated an account to collect and distribute consumer funds obtained in connection with their fraudulent scheme.

    In May 2015, Axact was shut down by Pakistani law enforcement, and certain individuals associated with Axact were prosecuted in Pakistan. Nevertheless, after May 2015, Hamid resumed his fraudulent business of selling fake diplomas to consumers in the United States for upfront fees based upon false and fraudulent representations. Most recently, Hamid travelled to the United States in 2016 in order to open a bank account used to collect money from defrauded consumers.

    The Axact scheme
    Hamid, using the aliases “Shah Khan” and the “Shah,” and others operated a massive education “diploma mill” through “Axact,” which has described itself as one of the world’s leading “information technology” providers. Working on behalf of Axact, Hamid and others made misrepresentations to individuals across the world, including throughout the United States and in the Southern District of New York, in order to dupe these individuals into enrolling in supposed high schools, colleges, and other educational institutions. Consumers paid upfront fees to Hamid and his co-conspirators, believing that in return they would be enrolled in real educational courses and, eventually, receive legitimate degrees. Instead, after paying the upfront fees, consumers did not receive any legitimate instruction and were provided fake and worthless diplomas.

    Axact promoted and claimed to have an affiliation with approximately 350 fictitious high schools and universities, which Axact advertised online to consumers as genuine schools. During certain time periods since 2014, Axact received approximately 5,000 phone calls per day from individuals seeking to purchase Axact products or enroll in educational institutions supposedly affiliated with Axact.

    At least some of those consumers appeared to believe that they were calling phone numbers associated with the respective schools. When consumers asked where the schools were located, sales representatives were instructed to give fictitious addresses.

    Once a consumer paid for a school certificate or diploma that falsely reflected a completed course of study, Axact sales agents were trained to use sales techniques to persuade the consumer to purchase additional “accreditation” or “certifications” for such certificates or diplomas in order to make them appear more legitimate.

    Axact, through Hamid and his co-conspirators, falsely “accredited” purported colleges and other educational institutions by arranging to have diplomas from these phony educational institutions affixed with fake stamps supposedly bearing the seal and signature of the US Secretary of State, as well as various state agencies and federal and state officials.

    https://www.geo.tv/latest/137336-Ax...diploma-mill-scam-faces-20-years-in-US-prison
     
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  2. AZADPAKISTAN2009

    AZADPAKISTAN2009 ELITE MEMBER

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    There are numerous educational sites across US and world that offer online training
    Similarly certifications are digitally created and issued online which you can print yourself
     
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  3. Fledgingwings

    Fledgingwings BANNED

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    What about the scam money they made????
     
  4. A.A. Khan

    A.A. Khan FULL MEMBER

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    The jokers in Pak media should stop making fool of themselves by recycling old news on Bol Channel and the firm that oversees them Axact. NY Times affiliate to the Express Tribune [run by Express Lakhani Group] have already done whatever they can to blackball Axact used the kicked out journo DEvclan Walsh, and they are still running their business. The recycled news coinciding with Bol launching their newspaper in different languages shows there is nefarious intent and is'nt surprising. Bol channel is launchig new products its first to establish language selector where news channel can be watched in 6 Pakistani languages like Sindhi, Pashto, Punjabi, etc.. Instead of these shenanigans why can't Express Group compete with Bol on bringing more innovative products to improve viewership and support and Pakistani viewers. These stupid games of mud slinging won't help their cause competing and catering to Pakistani audeince will. Tribune is anti-Pakistani with a bias for India/US in its news material, op-ed and blogs. They need to first improve their own image.
     
  5. Sully3

    Sully3 FULL MEMBER

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    the difference is those unis and colleges are giving a nice little cut/tax to the american government

    these exact guys were making millions and the US wasn't getting a cut so they came in guns out
     
  6. AZADPAKISTAN2009

    AZADPAKISTAN2009 ELITE MEMBER

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    There is a massive online initiative in USA/Canada for online education and trianing , some are sponsored by Local Universities and Colleges who offer certain courses that are not even "actual credit towards any degree or diploma" however these entities are completely allowed , at end of trianing these companies offera generic certificate of completion of training and attendence

    What Axact may have attampted to offer as online education I fail to see why it is such a drastic problem

    US/Canada also have "unsanctioned" education centers as well who offer training / education (Non credit ) focus Some companies use these education centers just to provide a base education training (No degree / credit courses)

    For US I think they have certain accredation which is given for recognized institutes however it does not people to open unaccredated education centers

    So the situation with Axact (Alleged) is a bit suprising

    There are 2-3 Indian companies who are busy providing certain training courses online and it is easily found online

    In north America now there are official collaboration between College /Universities with Online Training Software companies to sell their courses online

    So I find it silly that Pakistani company is being punished for same process that is openly used at present in North America

    If Student from Pakistan attends these Online US course/Training ----> Completely legal
    If Student from Overseas attends onlinec course with Affiliate in Pakistan---> Problem ??


    Almost all Universities now have what they call is "Virtual Campus" a non existing branc of the University / College who offer course by Telecommute basis , many folks who might be at age of going to University / College will confirm my statement


    If Axact's center of Business is not in USA, then legally they are not responisble for Paying in US taxes , since their head office is offshore , just like many major US corporations. Taxes are only due in the courntry were the entity is registered as a legal business


    • Providing UN Accredited training in US is not illegal to my understanding as there are many private institutes that open on training or course by course basis

    All online training sites where people get technical training get a completion certificate of achivement (which is not necessarily is a course recognized by Universities or College credit purpose). They offer what is called (None credit course or Training)


    Below is a none credit portal for "None degree credit" for people to challenge themselves
    coursera.gif

    Below is a Indian website that sells "none credited training"
    indiantraining.png



    These places only offer online recorded video seminar or they have Vitural live training course or seminar


    If there is a "Company ABC" in USA registered in USA, who may use service of Axact to provide services it is reponsibility of US registered school or University to make sure they are accredited. Not responsibility of company which provides services


    Another example of unaccredited course trianing company
    UDEMY.png

    alison.png


    Oralce training portal kinda pricy
    oNLINETRAININGORACLE.png



    Sudden closure of the Axact shows unawareness of the world trend of online education and courses and shoting own Pakistani Organization in the foot


    Majority of these companies do not have direct association to a University and when there are contact , the courses are "Un credited course" yet they call the designazation unaccredited diploma


    If there was/is objection to the Degree / Diploma the authorities should work with company to figure out what status would these educationc courses would have

    And if there is disgreement the entity should be asked to clearly indicated it is a "UN Accredited course or stream"


    No one can "BLOCK" onine education , if someone wants to get training on certain skill they will buy course from any country where it is avialble and take it by Internet


    If you are a Pakistani you can buy a course / subscription from Microsoft / oracle , they will offer training , it is unacredited it is up to the student to decide if they wish to take this course regardless if a Unievrsity / College may object or not. Because it is right of anyoen to take any unacredited course

    If I read a book and 10 chapters in class room or Online Virtual training or study I still gain knowledge

    This is where the government lacked to properly handle such a case to figure out how to develop consensus if there were any objections not just out right SHUT off a running business that was idiotic
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2017
  7. cloud4000

    cloud4000 FULL MEMBER

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    Incredible some of responses to the OP, as if Axact is worth defending. Yes, countless online education entities offer degrees, but Axact lied to its students by claiming their degrees were from accredited universities and high school when they weren't. Imagine the problem this causes for folks who either wanted to pursue advanced studies or applying for a job.

    And it's not like only folks in the US were cheated, Axact was cheating people all over the world, including Pakistan.
     
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  8. AZADPAKISTAN2009

    AZADPAKISTAN2009 ELITE MEMBER

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    Well to my understanding the Online University Software was purchased by third party who had presense in their own respective countries.

    Axact are just "Service provider" if a registered school or University or college , uses their service it is their local obligation to ensure they meet criteria for accredation. Axact is a Software who provide a service "University system" to their customers

    Like Amazon provides tools for other companies to use

    Example , Amazon has cloud technology , 2 customers may use it to run ECommerce , 3 will use it to run Company website , so it is a service they provide and different customers use that service differently for their own business needs.




    The MODEL
    [Consumer] ------------
    --------------[CUSTOMER ] University / College unaccredited local body registered
    -----------------[SERVICE COMPANY] Customer got contract with exact to provide software
    -------------------Certificate (Un Accredited course / training ) issue end of course / stream

    *In this Model Axact was the Service company and someone gave them contract to provide service , and it was not their responsibility to seek approval for accredation and frankly in US these are not needed

    This is a normal model for online training used world wide


    You know all these companies I listed above they issue a "Digital Certificate " or PDF file when you complete the training course on the fly , which you can print with your own printer
    Complete legel just training yourself
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2017
  9. cloud4000

    cloud4000 FULL MEMBER

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    Axact was more than a mere "service providers." They were actively committing fraud. The indicted man was an Axact employee, not a third-party provider. It's all in the OP.

    If Axact is guilty, as well as this executive, why accept a plea? Why did Pakistan extradite him to the US?
     
  10. AZADPAKISTAN2009

    AZADPAKISTAN2009 ELITE MEMBER

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    Well it seems that the person was not given proper Lawyer or support from Pakistan's side to defend himself properly.

    Should have been given diplomatic support to hear their side of story and figure out the missing parts in story and develop consensus

    But to me their model looks exactly same as any other online trianing company

    • Technically you can live in Pakistan and register yourself in University in USA or Canada , distant education program , if that university is not recognized by local US body as a consumer you won't know unless you ask the office of registrar what level of Accredetion the university or online training courses provide ?

    If Pakistani company is shut down then all the "Online Training companies" which should up on internet should also be shut down


    DONALD TRUMP RUN A FAKE UNIVERSITY CALLED TRUMP UNIVERSITY and he is running around as President of United states. He never went to that University campus , and all the people he hired he never really hired them directly as the students were told and same with the course it was not related to how Trump did his realestate. Settled out of court

    So you can see unaccredit training course are quite common in United states


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2017
  11. cloud4000

    cloud4000 FULL MEMBER

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    I agree. If they are committing fraud like Axact.
     
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  12. AZADPAKISTAN2009

    AZADPAKISTAN2009 ELITE MEMBER

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    Trump University Certificate , printed in USA , 100% unrecognized only recognized by the Trump university only and people who may have heard of Trump

    [​IMG]


    And same type of certificates are issued by all online companies , including indian companies
    This is what Indian companies print (On the go once you complete few weeks of training with them)
    [​IMG]

    Like who the **** is "Geral Jaideep"? To issue a certificate can CIA or FBI chase him down
    No becasue the certificate is just training knowledge achivement

    So as you can see this is a very common practice on online training world



    Every company gives a certificate for completion if it is recognized at University level or country level that is a different matter !!!!!


    [​IMG]

    Is this course or certificate recognized in Pakistan HEC ? probbaly not but did the person may be learn some skills yes I am sure they must have



    Issuing a certificate of completing training is not a crime!!!!!!

    If someone completed the Axaxt criteria of successful completion of course or courses or stream to qualify as a diploma standing (Diploma = set of completed course) this is completely legal


    Will it get accepted by Accredation department of international countries or Pakistan , this is where the flaws is as accredation itself takes 10-20 years to achieve for online companies but the certificates they issue are still value training courses provided a history of completed courses is maintained for students and their assignments



    Here is another example of unaccredited training course (not recognized by Countries or any University or College) still not crime
    [​IMG]


    No they are not a university or college but they offer taining if you do it you get a recognition it is not transferrable to University or college

    No University will recognize this certificate as anything worthy to transfer any credit to you for completing it but it is still a valid training course some people recognize it

    Can you get US immigration based on this Microsoft certificate ??? NO!!!


    So will FBI shut down Microsoft as a company tomorrow because they are handing out all these certificates which are unrecognized by universities as legitimate credits ??? Hell no


    Every 4-5 years Microsoft upgrades their system and all their previous certificate and education becomes "VOID" what a true SCAM

    You spend 10,000 USD on certificates 10-15 and then 4-5 year later it all becomes VOID TRUE SCAM happens world wide

    Yet Microsoft is still open no one will complain against it
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2017
  13. Thəorətic Muslim

    Thəorətic Muslim SENIOR MEMBER

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    Diplomas are only as good as the weight behind the issuing institution. Harvard, Oxford, MIT are recognized globally. As compared to some one room "colleges" in the UK operating out of apartment buildings.

    There are many online organizations that are supported by actual universities. Massive Online Courses such as MIT Open Courseware, MIT & Harvard's edX, Khan Academy even

    No one recognizes these course diplomas. Some of the courses especially Opencourseware is for educators in middle-high schools to integrate as a tool into their syllabus, and undergrades/graduates to look into as additions to their coursework at other Universities. Kind of like Khan Academy.

    Handing out "certificates" upon "completing" an online course is one thing, it's quite another to blackmail and demand payments for services not provided. If that is the case in regards to Axact.
     
  14. AZADPAKISTAN2009

    AZADPAKISTAN2009 ELITE MEMBER

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    On the contrary all Universities can black mail and with hold a diploma or degree if you fail to pay for your Tuition

    So your argument does not holds becasue all office of registrar have authority to deny graduation to student if their financial obligations have not been met 100% as per liking of University they are attending

    Even for the unaccredited course or training you cannot attend unless you pay weeks in advance !!!

    Even if someone is a scholar student , and they miss out on paying tuition , guess what your graduation can be halted or delayed by 1 year
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2017
  15. SMASTER

    SMASTER FULL MEMBER

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    just 20 years for scamming thousands of people ?