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Accountabilityby Mark Reutter6:28 pmMay 23, 20230

Baltimore Inspector General tracks down fabricated diploma by finance employee

In this variant of “the dog ate my homework,” a master’s degree allegedly achieved 20 years earlier was never mailed

Above: Fake college degrees can be obtained for as low as $59 on the internet. (realisticdiplomas.com)

Earlier this month came the report of a city employee who, while teleworking 100% from home, clocked in the very same hours at the school system’s headquarters, pocketing over $100,000 from the dual employment.

Today Baltimore Inspector General Isabel Mercedes Cumming presented the case of a city worker who, seeking a promotion, manufactured a master’s degree after first fabricating a college degree that got her the job in the first place.

The unnamed employee began at the Bureau of Accounting and Payroll Services (BAPS) two years ago in a position that required a college degree that she certified she had, but didn’t, according to Cumming.

No one checked on her educational history, so when a promotion requiring a master’s degree came up, the employee informed her supervisor that she had once enrolled in a master’s degree program at the same college.

Phony Photo and Transcript

While her initial job application did not list any master’s degree, the employee said that she had contacted the college registrar and was informed that she did graduate from the master’s program, “but the degree was never mailed.”

The employee then requested that BAPS accept an updated resume that now included “a master’s degree from the Local College” along with a transcript and photo of the diploma for the master’s degree, “which they alleged to have achieved in May 2001,” Cumming wrote.

Subpoenaing the college to verify the degrees, Cumming found that the employee had never completed a single semester at the institution.

The charade went on, undetected, until the IG got an anonymous complaint.

Subpoenaing the college to verify the degrees, Cumming found that the employee had “never completed a single semester” at the institution.

There were no transcripts, and the photographed master’s degree was a fake.

City: We’ll “clarify” screenings

To avoid such fraud in the future, Cumming called on Mayor Brandon Scott and the Department of Human Resources to set up protocols to “ensure education verification checks are completed and appropriately reviewed as part of the hiring process,” especially in the case of “financial positions with access to sensitive information.”

The mayor and his chief human capital officer, Quinton M. Herbert, did not formally respond to the IG report.

In a brief response, Finance Director Michael Moiseyev said “the identified employee is no longer a City of Baltimore employee.”

And his agency “has taken the following actions,” he said, namely “work[ing] with human resources to clarify additional employment screening at hiring for candidates depending on position type (sensitive class and/or positions of trust and job function) and is utilizing those additional screenings.”

“The Department of Finance appreciates the Office of the Inspector General’s investigation and the opportunity to address these issues,” Moiseyev concluded.

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