Friday May 26, 2017
Yet another group of victims of an online fraud degree racket controlled by Axact has come to the fore.
Axact, which is already at the centre of an international diploma mill scandal, has been targeting students in Bahrain, local publication DT News has revealed.
When DT News contacted Axact in the guise of a student, a representative from one of the fictitious universities belonging to Axact claimed that 1,500 students from Bahrain have enrolled in their educational programmes. 20,000 students have enrolled from the Arab region, the publication was told.
Axact, which describes itself as the world’s leading IT company, has over 145 websites for fictitious universities, DT News said in its report. Some of these include Ashbery University, Belltown University, Camp Lake University and Brooksville University. The universities offer various programmes including diplomas, Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.
A victim named Thomas told the publication that he paid BD1000 for a business diploma course before realising that the university was fake. “I completed the course from their Brooksville University a few years ago and they provided me with course completion documents, but recently I started receiving calls from them asking for more money claiming that a few more documents were to be sent to me.”
The student said that the calls were made from a Bahraini number, which probably used a masked caller ID.
“I did not realise this until they made an error in a recent call saying that a representative from the Bahrain Foreign Affairs Ministry would contact me.”
“The same person from the University called me again using the Ministry’s number, that is when I doubted that they are using a caller ID spoofing software,” he told the newspaper.
Axact allegedly 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.
Axact, through its vice president Umair 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.
After pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, Hamid faces between 63 and 78 months in US prison, along with a fine of more than $11 million. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 21, 2017.