The University of Newcastle, an online college diploma mill that was recently closed in the UK, has opened a new website which cites operations in the United States: Chicago and Washington, D.C.
Established in October of 2006 and operated out of a pub in Manchester, UK, this unaccredited university provided phony diplomas to 1,797 students—netting almost 2 million pounds (equivalent to a little over $3 million), according to a recent report in the London Times. Eight students who received these phony degrees have been arrested for alleged connections to Al-Qaeda, the Times reported.
Over the last four years, the University of Newcastle claimed distance degree operations in Ireland, the UK, and the South Pacific. Facing prosecution in Britain, the degree mill recently moved its primary address to the U.S., citing Washington, D.C. as its chief center of operation.
According to reports in the British press, the diploma scam was originally developed by two men from the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) in Pakistan, who relocated to Britain on student visas. Newcastle’s current website, which boasts mailing addresses in the U.S., falsely states that the distance learning colleges holds “regional accreditation.” Regional accreditation is the highest form of college accreditation in the U.S.
The University of Newcastle (USA) also claims accreditation by the Accreditation Council of Higher Education (ACHE). The ACHE is not recognized as a college accrediting agency by the United States Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The ACHE is a reputed accreditation mill, a bogus agency specializing in “accrediting” university degree mills.
The University of Newcastle UK degree mill printed fake diplomas with names of imaginary or unaccredited schools, such as the College of Professional Studies, Blackpool University, and Greenford University.
The Times article on the University of Newcastle also reported that eight of the Pakistani students who received these phony degrees were arrested in Manchester and Liverpool for alleged connections with an al-Qaeda network.
There are similarly named schools that have legitimate accreditation, such as Newcastle University Upon Tyne, a prestigious residential college in the UK, and the University of Newcastle (UoN), an Australian public university established in 1965. Diploma mills often use names of real accredited institutions to confuse the public and hide their true identity.
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