A United States court has sentenced a senior Axact employee to 21 months in prison for his role in the multi-million dollar fake diploma scheme being run by the Karachi-based IT company.
In addition to the prison term, Umair Hamid, a Karachi resident, was ordered to forfeit $5,303,020 or $5.30 million.
The 31-year-old pleaded guilty on April 6 this year to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and subsequently entered the guilty plea before the US District Judge Ronnie Abrams, according to a press release issued by the US Department of Justice.
The announcement was made by Acting US Attorney for New York District Joon H Kim, who said: “Umair Hamid and Axact operated a massive diploma mill that preyed on consumers who thought their tuition would pay for a college education. Instead, Hamid provided victims with worthless fake diplomas. Defendants like Hamid who profit from fake schools face very real penalties, including prison time.”
According to the case documents, Hamid helped run a massive diploma mill through Axact, which has held itself out as one of the world’s leading information technology providers. “Hamid and his co-conspirators deceived individuals across the world, including throughout the US, into enrolling in supposed high schools, colleges, and universities,” Kim said.
“Hamid, who served most recently as Axact’s Assistant Vice President of International Relations, helped Axact conduct the fraud in the United States, among other locations. On Axact’s behalf, he served as the primary contact during negotiations with a former competitor for Axact’s acquisition of websites for fake educational institutions,” he added.
In May 2015, FIA authorities had shut down Axact and arrested multiple individuals associated with the company for participating in the diploma mill operation. But Hamid, who was not arrested at that time, continued to work in furtherance of the fraudulent business, even personally travelling to the United States in 2016 to open a bank account used to collect money from defrauded consumers.
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