Sunday September 26, 2021

Gathering storm: Firm behind diploma, degree scam springs back into business

Gathering storm: Firm behind diploma, degree scam springs back into business

KARACHI: One of the most shocking fake degree scandals that tarnished Pakistan’s image abroad and shook the confidence of aspiring students some years ago, has rebounded into a multi-million dollar business of diploma scams.

The same building that previously housed the IT company has been renamed and is now employing TCurve Website to cheat students by offering them fake degrees of www.calbrooksuniversity.education, www.mountwilliam.university and www.rfu.education, which are phoney and do not exist beyond the computer and IT domain. In operation for the last two years, the company has not mysteriously drawn the attention of law enforcement agencies. Confirming this to The News, Director FIA Sindh Amir Farooqi, Addl Director Cyber Crimes Wasi Hyder denied holding any investigations into the IT company TCurve. However, another senior officer of the FIA on condition of anonymity confirmed that the company was back in business to cheat and con students for which it has hired 900 employees to run the show in Karachi and Islamabad. It is already minting dirty money. “The company in June alone earned USD 1.8mn and improved it to USD 2.1mn the next month”, according to the FIA source.

The company’s first floor has the offices of a software company, whereas the 5th to 7th floors serve as the base for the shadowy business. Following the FIA’s initial action, the company’s main character absconded to Dubai and has foiled all efforts to extradite him to Pakistan. “Now a new face is running the show,” the source said. The FIA source said the new company follows the same procedures and protocols as of the previous one.

The telephone numbers mentioned on the university websites though show their location in various foreign lands, are actually operated from Karachi. The websites also are being regularly updated and run from Karachi to satisfy queries about accreditation and other information. The three universities www.calbrooksuniversity.education, www.mountwilliam. university and www.rfu.education are phoney and their domain is located in DHA and whenever any candidate seeks information about them, the operators and employees at its call centres with proficiency in English and Arabic diminish any of their concerns.

The cost of a single course is USD7,500 and the business has been profitable for the last two years. Like before, those benefiting from the fake degrees are followed and blackmailed by impostors posing as officers of different LEAs and further milked for more money in order to be let off.

The FIA source provided a list of 400 victims based in different countries of the Middle East, the US, the UK, India and southern America, Africa etc, who are being blackmailed into paying millions of dollars by this IT company.

The dirty business of the IT company was also exposed in detail by a former FBI official Allen Ezell who wrote a book: Degree Mills: The Billion-Dollar Industry. He provided interesting investigative information of the dirty business of counterfeit educational diplomas, degree, transcripts and accreditations. Similarly, an article was also published about the same IT company in international media, corroborating this scribe’s story about the return of the IT company to operate from the same premises under a new name, from January 2020.