Missouri has passed a law that makes it illegal to use fake degrees, transcripts or credentials when applying for work or engaging in business in the State of Missouri.
The law was drafted in response to specific cases of employment fraud in the state involving false transcripts and academic degrees from college degree mills.
In one case, the University of Missouri-Columbia caught a job applicant submitting false doctorate transcripts from the university to secure employment at a health care facility.
In another high profile case, a couple from St. Charles, Missouri submitted false records from Lindenwood University and St. Charles Community colleges, both real universities, in an effort to secure state teaching jobs.
The crime bill, supported by the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Governor Jay Nixon, makes it a Class C misdemeanor to use phony documents for employment purposes or for the purposes of engaging in business or gaining admission to any college or university.
In a statement to the public on the new law against diploma mills, Leroy Wade, Assistant Commissioner of Higher Education, stands firm on the need for a crime bill that specifically targets resume and employment fraud. “Unless an employer has a reason to be suspicious, they often accept documentation at face value,” Wade says. “The new legislation calls attention to the problem and puts people on notice that using phony documents is a crime.”
While the Missouri law was prompted by the falsification of documents from real universities, the Department of Higher Education expressed concern about the growing availability and use of fake degrees and phony diplomas from online colleges that lack any accreditation or academic oversight.
Texas, Oregon, and Michigan have similar laws that target the college degree mill industry.
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