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State Trooper Diploma Mill Scandal Shakes Up Washington

Diploma mills are bad news. It doesn't do it justice to say they deprive your future employers of a truly qualified individual -- what's worse, they cheat the recipient out of their money and a quality education. Of course, there are consequences, as ten Thurston County state troopers found out when it came to light that their college degrees were somewhat less than legit.

An audit last year found nine troopers with degrees of "questionable nature" after an unrelated diploma mill scandal in Spokane.

The State Patrol learned of a 10th trooper with similarly questionable degree after an investigation began into whether the troopers committed fraud.

The troopers remain on paid administrative leave while the State Patrol investigates whether they violated department ethics and policies. They still could face discipline, including termination.

The punishment brought against the troopers is less severe than expected, and no formal charges were brought against them, on the basis that they were operating under the (erroneous) understanding that the schools they obtained diplomas for were accredited. "In our view," claimed the Chief Deputy Prosecutor handling the matter, "it would be difficult, if not impossible, to prove any criminal intent on the part of the troopers when they are essentially relying on the feedback they're getting from the (human resources) representative."

The troopers have also thus far taken actions to make amends -- they all asked to no longer be paid on the higher salary pay-grade granted to them by a higher education, and all repaid the extra salary they had gained while operating under the assumption of having a degree.

Obtaining a diploma from an unaccredited institution can seem like a small mistake, but it can have dire consequences. Check out our article on five ways to tell an accredited school from the imposters to keep from following in those state troopers' footsteps.

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