Execs stay silent in fake diploma scam

By Zhang Jiawei (
Updated: 2011-06-20 16:45
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Hundreds of Chinese company executives have been conned into buying fake diplomas to cheat their academic success, China Youth Daily reported Sunday.

But rather than openly seek justice or speak out about the scam that duped them out of tens of thousands of yuan, most would prefer to stay silent for fear of loosing face and their reputation.

The victims, the majority senior management who wanted to improve their resumes with better degrees or universities, enrolled in the "Beijing Offices" of certain colleges where they believed short-term after-work classes would lead to a better diploma and better work and social success.

The "Beijing Offices" claimed they were genuine schools which could issue diplomas that could be verified by China's online diploma verifying system, but it turned out not only the diplomas were fake, but fraudsters also invented a fake verification system.

The news came to light after the procuratorate of Beijing's Haidian district handled seven fraud cases of fake diplomas supposedly from foreign universities between January and May this year, involving about eight million yuan ($1.2 million) with 339 victims from around the country.

"The fees the suspects asked for each fake diploma range from 20,000 yuan to 190,000 yuan," said Rao Mingdang, who was in charge of a recent case.

"Among the victims, 80 percent were company executives above the vice-general manager level," Rao said.

One victim told the paper the money he lost was a small amount for him, while another said hundreds of them were cheated, and some of victims asked them not to give interviews.

Lei Hong, a professor with the Huazhong University of Science and Technology, said the executives' idea of buying a diploma was driven by vanity and suggested the society's bias on judging a person by his or her diploma had not changed.