Resumé Liars Club

According to recent studies and our own anecdotal experience, resumé fraud is epidemic and the phenomenon has ruined the careers of executives and embarrassed otherwise prestigious organizations by damaging reputations and shareholder value. We chronicled this problem in our article, Resumé Fraud: The Top Ten Lies, which was based upon an analysis of cases and our own experience in conducting numerous executive screening due diligence exercises over the years. Our analysis concludes that the top ten resumé lies are as follows:
  • Stretching Dates of Employment
  • Inflating Past Accomplishments & Skills
  • Enhancing Titles & Responsibilities
  • Exaggerating Education and Fabricating Degrees
  • Unexplained Gaps & Periods of "Self Employment"
  • Omitting Past Employment
  • Faking Credentials
  • Falsifying Reasons for Leaving Prior Employment
  • Providing Fraudulent References
  • Misrepresenting Military Record

Based upon our own experience of nearly 30 years of vetting senior executives of companies all over the world, together with the available empirical data, we believe that about one third or 33 percent of resumes contain material omissions or misstatements of one kind or another. If you want more evidence of the magnitude of the problem, here are some other statistics:

  • ADP’s 2009 study of some 5.5 million background investigations showed discrepancies in 46 percent of the educational, employment and/or reference checks, up from 45 percent in 2008 and 41 percent in 2007. 
  • An October 2006 survey conducted by CareerBuilder.com found that 18 percent of job applicants admitted to lying on their resumé.
  • The same survey said that 57 percent of hiring managers claim to have caught lies on a candidate's application.
  • A 2004 Society for Human Resources Management survey of personnel directors found that nearly 90 percent reported that they had been subjected to resumé fraud and that 61 percent had found inaccuracies “often” or “sometimes.”
  • A 2003 study by the placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas found that 52% of the 249,000 resumes analyzed contained discrepancies
  • ADP’s 2001 survey of some 2.3 million background checks concluded that 44 percent of job applicants lied about their work histories, 41 percent lied about their educational backgrounds and 23 percent falsified credentials or professional licenses.
  • Another survey, conducted in 2001 by search firm Christian & Timbers of some 7,000 applicants for executive positions, found that 23 percent had misrepresented themselves.
  • According to the FBI, nearly half a million people in the US falsely claim to have college degrees.
On this page, which we call the Resumé Liars Club, we have assembled a compendium of publicized cases involving many prominent - and some not so prominent - individuals misrepresenting their backgrounds. The reader will note that the overwhelming majority of these cases involve faked educational backgrounds. There also seem to be an inordinate number of athletic coaches on the list. The Resumé Liars Club is by no means meant to be an exhaustive list as there are thousands of untold stories not included here. We have attempted to be as accurate as possible in the facts of the cases, based upon published reports. If you have a candidate for the Resumé Liars Club, please e-mail us the details for consideration to info@marquetinternational.com.

Resumé Liars Club Index
  • Paula Baker
  • Andrea (Ballengee) Preuss
  • Kelly Brady
  • Jesse L. Burns
  • Christopher (nee Haugen) Bushnell
  • Laura Callahan
  • Janet L. Cooke
  • Patrick Couwenberg
  • James DeHoniesto
  • George C. Deutsch
  • Alfred J. Dunlap
  • Joseph J. Ellis
  • Mike Freeman
  • Jack Benjamin Grubman
  • Blair Hrovat
  • Marilee Jones
  • Kenneth E. Keiser
  • Ramanathan Kumar
  • Robert M. Lazarowitz
  • Vahid Manian
  • James J. Minder
  • Michael F. O'Brien
  • Pat J. Palmer
  • Sarah Pawa
  • Ann Purzner
  • T'Challa Ross
  • Dr. Paul Shrode
  • Quincy Troupe
  • Brian T. Valery
  • Steven M. Welchons
  • Dennis L. Workman  

  • Patrick L. Avery
      On February 11, 2009, publicly traded and Denver-based fertilizer maker, Intrepid Potash, Inc. announced that its president and COO, Patrick L. Avery, resigned after it was revealed that he had misrepresented his educational background. When the company went public in 2008, SEC filings stated that Avery had a “B.A. in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Colorado, an M.S. in Engineering from Loyola, and an M.B.A. from Pepperdine University.” However, it turns out that Avery attended classes on an off at the University of Colorado between 1970 and 1975, but never received a degree. Further, records reveal that Avery attended Loyola from 1982 to 1985, but also never received a degree. Avery had joined Intrepid Potash at its inception in April 2007, becoming president and COO in October 2007. He had previously spent a decade employed in executive capacities at agribusiness, J.R. Simplot. The company and its directors and officers have since had to deal with class action litigation for making “false and misleading” statements.
    Paula Baker
      In 1996, Paula Baker was hired by now defunct Seattle law firm Bogle & Gates through a recruitment company, Executive Direction, who was paid a $35,000 search fee to find an information systems director with a four-year college degree. Baker supposedly not only had an undergraduate degree, but was reportedly near completion with an MBA. It was discovered two years later that Baker had embezzled some $2 million from the law firm. Among the things the investigation revealed was the fact that Baker did not have a four year college degree as was represented on her resumé. Baker was arrested in November 1998 for the theft and plead guilty to one count of wire fraud and was sentenced to 41 months in prison. She served time in a California prison and then a Seattle work release program. In 1999, Bogle & Gates sued Executive Direction in an effort to recover some of the losses, some of which were covered by insurance along with a recovery of assets from Baker, including an $800,000 designer dress collection. Sadly, according to her attorney, Paula Baker has since committed suicide.
    Sandra Baldwin
    Sandra Baldwin In May 2002, Sandra "Sandy" Baldwin resigned as President of the United States Olympic Committee after she admitted to misrepresenting her academic credentials in her professional biography. In a letter to USOC officials, Baldwin said she was not a 1962 graduate of the University of Colorado as was stated on her official biography. Nor had she completed a doctoral degree as originally claimed from Arizona State University in 1967. Instead, she attended the University of Colorado in 1958 and 1959 and actually completed her Bachelor's degree at Arizona State in 1962. She also reportedly worked toward her doctorate in American Literature, but never completed her dissertation. The discrepancy arose as a result of a freelance writer's inquiries in preparing an article for the University of Colorado alumni magazine. At the time of her resignation, Baldwin is quoted by the Associated Press as saying, "I should have changed it a long time ago, but once it was published it got paralyzing. Now I'm going to have to live with it for the rest of my life." Today, Baldwin runs her own real estate brokerage firm in Phoenix, Arizona.
    Andrea (Ballengee) Preuss
    Andrea (Ballengee) Preuss On July 1, 1995, then Andrea Ballengee, won the Miss Virginia pageant. She had recently graduated from Virginia Tech. Within days of having been crowned, questions arose about certain claims made on her resumé at that time. According to published reports, Ballengee had claimed to be a member of Phi Beta Kappa and had graduated Magna Cum Laude. Her resumé also claimed to have graduated with "highest honors" and had been selected as Tabb High School's "Most Valuable Female Athlete." Further, she claimed to be a law school student at the University of Miami. According to the reports, none of these claims were true and Ballengee was forced to relinquish her crown. In the years since, Ballengee, now Andrea Preuss, has worked hard to get beyond the past and continues to compete in beauty pageants. In 2005, she was crowned Mrs. America and was previously crowned Mrs. United States and Mrs. California America.
    Sam Wesley Box
      In October 2008, Pasadena, California-based Tetra Tech, Inc., an environmental engineering and consulting services company, announced that it had demoted its president, Sam W. Box, to the position of vice president of risk management after revelations that he had inflated his resumé with a civil engineering degree from the University of California that he had not earned. Tetra Tech stock dropped 9 percent on the announcement. The revelations were made by the Fraud Discovery Institute, a San Diego-based nonprofit founded by former convicted felon, Barry Minkow. Sam Box had become president of Tetra Tech in October 2004 after it acquired Foster Wheeler Environmental Corp. In fact, Tetra Tech’s 10K in 2007 included a bio for Box that included this statement: “Mr. Box holds a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering from the University of California.” Subsequent SEC filings were corrected, but Box remains employed with the company.
    Kelly Brady
      In August 2002, Kelly Brady, Chief Financial Officer of Pinellas County, Florida's WorkNet program, was fired from her job when County officials discovered that she had falsified her educational background. A prerequisite of Brady's position is a degree from an accredited four year college. When she was originally hired, Brady had provided a copy of a diploma purported to be from Arizona State University. However, County officials stated that they had documentation from ASU's registrar confirming that Brady did not have a degree from that institution. It turns out that the copy of the diploma Brady provided included a typo and was believed to be a fake. Brady was under scrutiny as a result of a memo she authored, calling for a forensic audit of her department and its relationship with a vendor, portraying herself as a whistleblower. Her superiors, however, found no reason for an audit, calling her action "insubordinate," placing her on administrative leave and prepared to transfer her out of the department. It was the transfer process, requiring a background check and educational verification that caught Brady.
    Michael Brown
    Michael Brown Michael Brown was the embattled FEMA Director for his and his agency's performance following Hurricane Katrina. Aside from the scrutiny surrounding his performance handling the after-effects of the storm, Time Magazine, in an expose published in September 2005 found that there were discrepancies in his official biography over how much emergency experience Brown actually had, among other things. The official biography on FEMA's website stated that Brown, worked for the city of Edmond, Oklahoma, from 1975 to 1978 "overseeing the emergency services division." According to Claudia Deakins, a spokeswoman for the City of Edmond, Oklahoma, Brown was an "assistant to the City Manager" - essentially an intern, from 1977 to 1980 with no oversight of other employees or departments. On another biography for Brown, posted on FindLaw.com, it was stated that he had been named "Outstanding Political Science Professor" at Central State University in Oklahoma. An official at the institution reported that Brown was only a student there and never a professor. There was also a discrepancy concerning the level of his involvement in the Oklahoma Christian Home, a nursing home where it was listed that he was a director from "1983 to the present." An administrator at the nursing home could not confirm this and said that Brown was "not a person that anyone here is familiar with." Finally, there were questions about the nature of his association with the Arabian Horse Association. Brown resigned from FEMA on September 12, 2005.
    Jesse L. Burns
      In January 1996, Jesse L. Burns was forced to resign as President of Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, Florida when it came to light that he had falsified his credentials in order to get hired in April 1993 as interim President of this historically black institution. The Board of Trustees officially appointed him President in February 1994. At issue were his claims to have an MBA degree from Stetson University and a doctorate from the University of South Florida. Records revealed that he had received a BS degree from Stetson University in 1973, but no MBA. Further, he had enrolled briefly at the University of South Florida, but never completed the coursework, according to reports. Burns' misrepresentations came to light after anonymous fliers appeared on campus accusing him of lying about his background. Burns is currently serving as President, Connectional Lay Organization, of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Gainesville, Florida.
    Marti Buscaglia
    Marti Buscaglia In June 2007, Marti Buscaglia was the veteran publisher of the Duluth News Tribune with a job offer to take over as the publisher of the Orange County Register when her plans went awry. According to published reports, the job offer was rescinded when it was disclosed that Buscaglia had falsified her educational background in her resumé. The resumé had stated that Buscaglia had a bachelor's degree in communications/advertising from Lima University in Lima, Peru which was not true, according to the reports. Of the incident, Buscaglia is quoted as saying, "It's one of those things you put on a resumé when you are young and stupid and you can never take it back." In November 2007, Buscaglia launched her own magazine in the Duluth area.
    Christopher (nee Haugen) Bushnell
    Christopher (nee Haugen) Bushnell In January 2010, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn announced that he had hired Chris Bushnell as a “policy advisor” with the handsome salary of $110,000 per year. However, just over a week into the job, Bushnell abruptly resigned, apparently the result of lying about his educational past. In various public settings, Bushnell claimed that he had a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Washington. However, this claim turned out to be completely fabricated. The mayor should have known better. In 1995, when he was 19 years old, Chris Bushnell, aka Chris Haugen, was convicted of bank fraud and possession and utterance of counterfeit securities. Apparently Bushnell (Haugen at the time) and a friend forged nearly $38,000 in money orders between 1992 and 1994 and he later circulated another $55,000 in counterfeit money orders. He was ordered to pay some $65,000 in restitution, given a suspended four-month prison sentence, and required to perform 250 hours of community service. Bushnell/Haugen was later reportedly fired from his position as director of national affairs for the Associated Students of the University of Washington when his conviction was revealed. It should be noted that Haugen married Megan Bushnell, a marine biologist, in April 2006 and took on his wife’s surname – probably to hide his criminal past. However, he denied the name change was for that reason and had reportedly informed the mayor of his conviction in 2007 who claimed it was “irrelevant” because it was so long ago.
    Joseph A. Cafasso
    Joseph A. Cafasso In late 2001, Joe Cafasso, aka Jay Cafasso, succeeded in becoming a Fox News military consultant during the Afghanistan campaign. He convinced the cable network that he was a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army, had served in Vietnam and won the Silver Star for bravery and was later part of the failed secret mission to rescue US hostages in Iran in 1980. He had previously put forward the same story to the Patrick Buchanan presidential campaign and WABC radio in New York City, both of which accepted the line. Disgracefully, this story was a fabrication. According to published reports about his military records from Fort Dix in New Jersey, Cafasso's entire military career consisted of only 44 days, between May and June 1976, when he was honorably discharged as a Private First Class. Suspicions were raised about Cafasso at Fox when some of the information he provided was inconsistent and his office style clashed with others. An investigative firm was hired by another analyst to look into his background and determined that his story was a fraud. He was fired by Fox News Washington bureau chief Kim Hume in March 2002 prior to the investigative report being disclosed. Cafasso was considered a "gifted storyteller" by some of the people he encountered in his travels. His current activities are unknown.
    Laura Callahan
    Laura Callahan In June 2003, Laura Callahan, a senior director in the Chief Information Officer's office with the US Department of Homeland Security, was placed on administrative leave when it was revealed that she had used a "diploma mill" to create an academic background. Her official government resumé indicated that she had earned three degrees from Hamilton University: a bachelor's degree in computer science in 1993; a master's degree in computer science in 1995; and a doctorate in computer information systems in 2000. Hamilton University, not to be confused with Hamilton College, turns out to be a diploma mill based in a converted motel in Evanston, Wyoming, offering degrees with little or no coursework for a fee. Callahan, in fact had earned an associate's degree from Trenton, New Jersey-based Thomas Edison Sate College in 1992. The resumé padding came to light when a former subordinate who had suspicions about her background, blew the whistle on Callahan to an industry publication. The disclosure about Callahan sparked a government investigation to root out government employees using fraudulent academic degrees. Callahan ultimately resigned from DHS on March 26, 2004. One report indicated that Callahan was working to complete a bachelor's degree in computer science from Thomas Edison College.
    Warren C. Cook, Sr.
      In 2003, Warren C. Cook was Vice President of Government Relations and Special Projects at The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine. Cook had been an executive with The Jackson Laboratory since late 1998. He was once the owner and CEO of Sugarloaf/USA ski resort and the President and CEO of Chemfab Corporation. Cook had been previously appointed co-chair of Maine Governor John Baldacci's Transition Advisory Council when the Governor took office. He sat on several non-profit boards. In fact, Cook had been correctly recognized as one of Maine's leading business figures. However, his curriculum vitae at the time stated that Cook earned a Master's Degree from the University of Massachusetts, was awarded the prestigious Navy Cross for his service in Vietnam, and was part of the 1968 U.S. Olympic hockey team. The only problem is that these claims were false. While Mr. Cook's professional career was indeed impressive, he resigned from The Jackson Laboratory on September 29, 2003 after admitting he lied on his resumé about the masters degree from UMass, receiving the Navy Cross and playing on the 1968 U.S. Olympic hockey team. Cook is currently a Director of the non-profit Northern Forest Center and still sits on the boards of a number of other educational and charitable institutions in Maine.
    Janet L. Cooke
    Janet L. Cooke On September 28, 1980, a heart-wrenching story about an 8-year-old heroin addict in Washington, DC entitled "Jimmy's World" appeared in the Washington Post which was written by an aspiring 26 year-old reporter named Janet Cooke. The story was so compelling that city officials and good Samaritans sought to find "Jimmy" and help him. Cooke refused to disclose his whereabouts claiming she needed to protect her sources and said she was concerned about her safety from drug dealers. On April 13, 1981, Cooke was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in journalism for the story. In the notes on the Pulitzer, it was noted that Cooke was a 1976 graduate of Vassar College, magna cum laude, had a master's degree from the University of Toledo, had attended the Sorbonne and spoke French and Spanish. Outside reporters looking into Cooke's background found that she had not graduated from Vassar, but had only attended for one year. She actually had her B.A. degree from U. Toledo. Nor had she received a master's degree or attended the Sorbonne. Pressed by her employer in light of her fabricated background, Cooke finally admitted that the story about Jimmy had been made up. In a statement made to the public upon her resignation, Cooke said, "Jimmy's World was in essence a fabrication. I never encountered or interviewed an 8-year-old heroin addict. The Sept. 28, 1980 article in the Washington Post was a serious misrepresentation which I deeply regret. I apologize to my newspaper, my profession, the Pulitzer Board and all seekers of the truth. Today, in facing up to the truth, I have submitted my resignation."
    Wester "Wes" Cooley
    Wester Wes Cooley was an elected US Congressman from Oregon who was convicted in March 1997 in Marion County Circuit Court of lying to voters in a 1994 election flyer about his military background. While Cooley was indeed in the army during the Korean War, he was not in a top-secret Special Forces unit as claimed. He claimed that his sergeant was killed in action, his military records destroyed in a fire and in any event, he had been sworn to secrecy about his missions. The sergeant, Sergeant Major Clifford Pappy, was found alive and well, who said that neither he nor Cooley had been in a secret special forces unit, but in fact Pappy was a drill sergeant during his basic training. Pappy is reported to have said of Cooley's claims, "Tell him he's a liar. Tell him Sergeant Pappy said that." Cooley had also falsely claimed to have been a member of the academic honor society, Phi Beta Kappa. Cooley, an avid motorcycle enthusiast, was convinced not to run for re-election in 1996. Cooley made a brief attempt at a political comeback in 1998, but only received some 9 percent of the vote in the Republican primary. In 2005, Cooley was reportedly involved in litigation over an Internet auction company scheme and ordered to repay investors some $2.1 million who were fraudulently induced into buying shares of the company.
    Patrick Couwenberg
    Patrick Couwenberg In August 2001, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Patrick Couwenberg was removed from the bench when he was found guilty of "willful misconduct in office, conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice and improper action under the state constitution," by a California State Commission on Judicial Performance. The action was taken when it was discovered after extensive hearings that Couwenberg had lied about his military record and misrepresented his educational and employment background. It was determined that while Couwenberg did serve in the Navy Reserves as claimed, he never served in the Army, in any capacity, nor was he engaged in combat in the Vietnam War and was never awarded a Purple Heart, as he had represented. It was California Polytechnic State University where he was awarded his undergraduate degree rather than the prestigious CalTech (and not on the G.I. Bill). He attended La Verne and Western Law Schools (neither of which were accredited), not Loyola Law School, as claimed. Couwenberg never attended Cal State, Los Angeles, and does not, in fact, hold a Master's Degree from any school, as he had also claimed. The dates he claimed to have studied at Cal State were fabricated to hide the fact that he did not pass the bar exam until his fifth try. CIA officials denied Couwenberg was ever employed by the Agency as he had claimed and the law practice for which Mr. Couwenberg claims to have worked in 1976 did not have a record of him. Couwenberg's lawyer is said to have admitted that Couwenberg was a "compulsive liar" and that he suffered from "pseudologia fantastica."
    Glynn Cyprien
    Glynn Cyprien By all accounts, Glenn Cyprien is a very successful basketball coach. Nevertheless, his career took an unexpected hit when it was revealed in July 2004 that he did not graduate from the University of Texas - San Antonio, as he had previously claimed on his resumé. The revelation came only two months after he had been hired as the basketball coach for the University of Louisiana - Lafayette. According to UT San Antonio records, Cyprien attended the University from 1987 to 1990, but did not graduate or receive a degree. He reportedly does have bachelor's and master's degrees from non-accredited Internet school, Lacrosse University, based in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, but the coaching job requires a four-year degree from an accredited institution. Cyprien took a defensive posture over the disclosures, insisting he had the degrees in question, but UL-Lafayette fired him shortly thereafter when it concluded its investigation, confirming Cyprien had falsified his resumé and application. Since 2006, Cyprien has been Associate Head Coach at New Mexico State University. He completed his bachelor's degree in physical education at UT-San Antonio in 2004.
    James DeHoniesto
    James DeHoniesto Hired originally by Aurora, Illinois-based Cabot Microelectronics Corp. in March 2000 as director of information technology, James DeHoniesto became chief information officer in 2004. He served in that capacity until November 2008, when he resigned amid revelations by Barry Minkow’s Fraud Discovery Institute that his professional corporate biography was inaccurate. In it, DeHoniesto claimed to have received a BS degree in Computer Science from the University of Pittsburgh. However, university records revealed that he had attended during the 1980s, but did not receive a degree. He resigned shortly after the Wall Street Journal made inquiries with the company. DeHoniesto currently is an IT Strategist for Plainfield, Illinois-based Trekay Solutions Inc., an IT consulting and service company.
    Shirley A. DeLibero
    Shirley A. DeLibero On October 28, 2000, the Houston Chronicle reported that Shirley A. DeLibero, President of the Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority, had two associates degrees listed on her resumé which she had not earned. The Chronicle reported that under the "Education" heading on DeLibero's resumé it stated: "Wentworth Technical Institute; Associates Degree, Engineering; 1959. American Institute of Management; Associates Degree, Business Administration, 1957." It turns out that women were not admitted into Wentworth until the 1970s and AIM had a record of DeLibero only taking a couple of classes. This revelation came after DeLibero had rejected Penny Page, an applicant for Metro Safety Director, for having a false degree on her resumé. Ironically, under her watch to that point, it was reported that five HMTA employees had been fired for lying on their resumes. The HMTA board suspended DeLibero for 30 days without pay for her transgression, but she was able to keep her job. In a taped message to employees and the public, DeLibero is reported to have said, "Some 25 years ago I inflated my education component on my resumé and never bothered to change it. And it was wrong. I am human. And human beings do make mistakes. I also fully understand that any time you make a mistake you have to pay for your mistakes." DeLibero ultimately retired from the HMTA on April 30, 2004 after 5½ years at the helm and started her own consulting firm, DeLibero Transportation Strategies, LLC, which appears to be currently active. DeLibero also currently serves as the National Chair for the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials.
    George C. Deutsch
      On February 7, 2004, George C. Deutsch, a controversial 24-year old press spokesman for NASA resigned amid revelations that he did not have a B.A. in Journalism from Texas A&M University as he had claimed on his resumé and official biography. In fact, he had been a student there from 1999 to 2003, prior to working on President Bush's re-election campaign and inaugural committee. University officials confirmed however, that he had not earned his degree. The discrepancy came to light as a result of an actual 2005 Texas A&M graduate and blogger who checked Texas A&M's alumni association to find that Deutsch was not a graduate and posted the fact.
    Steve Duchane
    Steve Duchane On October 14, 2003 Sterling Heights, Michigan City Manager, Steve Duchane admitted to lying on his resumé about his educational background in a teary-eyed, yet defiant press conference. A local TV station had reported that in his job application for City Manager, Duchane listed a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan- Flint and that University officials stated that he had never attended or received any degree from the institution. He also claimed to have another bachelor's degree and a master's degree from Century University in California, which turns out to be a non-accredited Internet school based out of New Mexico. Duchane also admitted to having false documentation suggesting he had attended Franklin University in Ohio as well as Eastern Michigan University. Duchane is quoted as saying at his press conference: "You do something initially that feels good, and you kind of go with it, and then you don't back off of it, which is incredibly stupid. You start believing it yourself somewhat. And, I really apologize for that. That was really gratuitous." Still, Duchane refused to resign upon his admission. Nevertheless, the Sterling Heights City Council voted to fire Duchane on October 21, 2003. Ironically, Duchane had taught a course on ethics at Oakland University in 2000, a position requiring a bachelor's degree from an accredited school, for which he had also reportedly fabricated his background to get the job. Duchane was hired in 2004 by the City of Lincoln Park, Michigan to be their City Manager - a position he still holds today.
    Alfred J. Dunlap
    Alfred J. Dunlap Al "Chainsaw" Dunlap had been hired by Sunbeam Corporation as CEO in 1996 to restructure and turnaround the ailing company. He was fired two years later amid charges of fraud and mismanagement. Unfortunately for Sunbeam, it had not conducted a very thorough due diligence on Dunlap's background. Had they or the executive search firm Korn/Ferry, hired to find an appropriate new CEO, had done so, they might have learned that Dunlap omitted two prior business experiences from his resumé which each ended in his being fired as well as similar charges of fraud and mismanagement leveled against him. In 1973 he had been hired as an executive at Eau Claire, Wisconsin-based Max Phillips & Son, but was fired after just seven weeks. He was hired six months later as President of Nitec Paper Corporation in 1974. By August 30, 1976, he was fired by Nitec's principal shareholder and CEO, George S. Petty, reportedly due to his incompatible management style. Dunlap was due a hefty bonus based upon the apparent profitability of the company as well as for a buy out of his ownership interest. An audit concluded that there were no profits after all at Nitec, but a significant loss. Litigation was promptly filed with allegations that the financials had been grossly inflated to Dunlap's benefit. The litigation lasted for 15 years and Nitec ultimately filed for bankruptcy. Dunlap went on to become CEO of Scott paper, which had used the executive search firm Spencer Stuart. Again, Dunlap's prior business experiences had been omitted and went undiscovered. It was at Scott Paper, where Dunlap restructured the company, firing many employees and earned his reputation as a cost cutter and the nickname, Al "Chainsaw" Dunlap.
    David J. Edmondson
    David J. Edmondson On February 14, 2006, David Edmondson was an 11-year veteran executive of Radio Shack who had been promoted to CEO only just the previous May when the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that there were serious errors in his resumé. Specifically, the resumé stated that Edmondson had degrees in theology and psychology from Pacific Coast Baptist College, later known as Heartland Bible Baptist College, when in fact he had only attended for two semesters. Edmondson admitted that he did not have a B.S. degree as claimed and resigned from Radio Shack a week later. Still, Edmondson was able to walk away with a severance package in excess of $1 million. When he was originally hired in 1994, Radio Shack's policy was to conduct criminal background checks, but did not verify educations, as it now does. It has been reported that Edmondson had several scrapes involving DUI allegations, in 1988, 2000 and again 2005, at least one of which was dropped. Prior to his resignation, Radio Shack's stock fell 62 percent in value.
    Joseph J. Ellis
    Joseph J. Ellis In April 2001, popular Mount Holyoke College professor Joseph Ellis won the Pulitzer Prize for his book, Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation. Two months later, on June 18, 2001, the Boston Globe reported that Ellis' claims of having served in Vietnam as a platoon leader in the 101st Airborne and serving on General Westmorland's staff, were fabricated. Ellis did serve in the Army during the Vietnam war, but never left the United States. He reportedly taught at West Point until 1972 when he was hired by Mt. Holyoke. Ellis issued a statement the following day, stating: "Even in the best of lives, mistakes are made. I deeply regret having let stand and later confirming the assumption that I went to Vietnam. For this and any other distortions about my personal life, I want to apologize to my family, friends, colleagues and students." One of the other "distortions" in his life was that he claimed to have made the winning touchdown in the last game of his high school senior year (he was not even on the team). For his transgression, Mt. Holyoke suspended him for one year without pay and rescinded his endowed chair, the Ford Foundation Professor of History. In May 2005 the college restored his endowed chair. He continues today as a professor of history at Mt. Holyoke College.
    Ronnie Few
    Ronnie Few Ronnie Few had been the Fire Chief the District of Columbia for less than two years when he submitted his resignation on May 21, 2002 amid allegations that his resumé contained factual errors. Few's resignation came two months after the Washington Times reported on the discrepancies in his background along with three of the people he brought with him from August, Georgia, where he was previously Fire Chief. In Few's case, it turned out that he did not have an "arts & sciences degree" from Morris Brown College nor had he been awarded the "Fire Chief of the Year Award" as claimed. Few's career has been marked by controversy including allegations of mismanagement during his tenure in Augusta, Georgia which a grand jury had been empanelled to investigate and allegations in DC that $1.3 million in the fire department's budget was not accounted for under his watch. He ran an unsuccessful bid to become mayor of Augusta in 2006. where questions of his residency arose. Shortly after being hired as fire Chief for the City of Demopolis, Alabama in August 2007, Few's employment contract was nearly terminated by the city council.
    Mike Freeman
    Mike Freeman Longtime sportswriter Mike Freeman had just left the New York Times for a job with the Indianapolis Star in January 2004 when he abruptly resigned after admitting that he had falsified his resumé. He claimed that he was a graduate of the University of Delaware, but in reality, he only attended without receiving a degree. Freeman appeared to be genuinely contrite for his action and is quoted as saying: "This was a terrible and unforgivable manipulation of the facts. . . . It was the only time I have told such falsehoods and no other deceptions have ever appeared in any of my newspaper stories or two books at any time in my 16 years of practicing journalism. Nevertheless, the information I gave the Star was wrong and I will be punished with the loss of my newspaper career." His statement of apology went on to say, "There are no excuses or alibis. This is my fault and my fault alone. Most of all, I have hurt and disappointed close friends and family, particularly my wife, and for this I am truly sorry. I also want to apologize to the Star." Freeman has since pursued his undergraduate degree and is working toward a master's. He currently writes for CBS Sportsline and has recently come out with a new book, Jim Brown: The Fierce Life of an American Hero.
    Vialetta Graham
      In February 2002, Vialetta Graham was hired as the Chief Technology Officer for the Washington, D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics claiming to have a 1983 computer science degree from American University. However, when an internal investigation into mismanagement at the agency reported its findings in August 2002, it was revealed that Graham did not have the degree as claimed, but in fact had completed only one year of undergraduate study. The report stated, "This investigation disclosed that Vialetta Graham, the Chief Technology Officer at the BOEE; had apparently falsified her academic achievements on two District government employment applications, including the application she filed with the BOEE at the time she was hired by the BOEE in December 2001." In November 2002, Graham was suspended without pay for 60 days and allowed to keep her job in spite of opposition and charges of hypocrisy. It seems ironic that someone who works for an agency called the "Board of Elections and Ethics" would be allowed to keep their job after misrepresenting themselves as Graham did. Nevertheless, the Board held that an undergraduate degree was not a requirement for the job. One DC council member, Jim Graham, who is not related to Vialetta Graham, is quoted as saying, "I think this raises a serious question about ethics and ethical behavior. For an agency that is trusted as the guardian of ethical behavior of political officials, well, this is just astounding to me." Vialetta Graham remains as the Chief Technology Officer for the agency.
    Jack Benjamin Grubman
    Jack Benjamin Grubman Jack Grubman was a high-flying telecom industry stock analyst for Salomon Smith Barney, earning a reported $20 million a year in some of the market boom years in the 1990s. However, gravity began to take its toll and by 2002, Grubman was under fire for hyping stocks like notorious companies Worldcom, Qwest Communications and Global Crossing. Those hypes and other questionable actions landed him in all kinds of litigation as well as brought him before the House Finance Committee to testify. He grew up in a working class northeast Philadelphia neighborhood, not the seedier South side as he liked to claim. Grubman excelled in high school and went on to graduate from Boston University majoring in math and later got a master’s degree in math from Columbia University. However, Grubman inexplicably changed his biography claiming he got his undergraduate degree from M.I.T. The misrepresentation was revealed by BusinessWeek magazine in 2000. It is quoted as describing the resumé fraud as “a stupid mistake on my part…At some point, I probably felt insecure, and it perpetrated itself.”
    Charles S. Harris
    Charles S. Harris On June 11, 2002, Charles S. Harris was forced to withdraw his acceptance of an offer made by Dartmouth College to become the venerable institution's athletic director because he had falsely claimed a master's degree in journalism from the University of Michigan when he had applied to be director of athletics for the University of Pennsylvania in 1978. At the time of his withdrawal, Harris is quoted as saying, "I thought the responsible thing to do was to remove any impediments to Dartmouth College in the business of running their athletic program. The reality is, I screwed up, and do not ever want to represent anything other than that. I had 24 years to correct it, and at some time, I did, but those things happen." Harris is currently Vice President of Student Services at Averett College in Danville, Virginia.
    Blair Hrovat
    Blair Hrovat In June 2002, Blair Hrovat resigned as head coach for the Allegheny College football team after it was revealed that he had not completed all of the requirements to receive his bachelor's degree from Edinboro College as claimed on his resumé and official biographies. In fact, Hrovat had attended Edinboro College on and off between 1981 until as late as 1990. As head coach at Allegheny College, Hrovat had a 26 - 14 record over four seasons. Hrovat is currently the offensive coordinator for the Indiana State University football team.
    “Sir” Robert Irvine
    “Sir” Robert Irvine For four seasons, Robert Irvine has been the British-born celebrity chef on The Food Network’s program, Dinner: Impossible. However, a newspaper recently revealed that Irvine’s resumé had been “spiced up” with a number of falsehoods. In February 2008, the Florida-based St. Petersburg Times wrote an article revealing that his claims to be a Knight Commander of the Victorian Order, had served members of the royal family and the president and owned a castle in England, were false. Further, his official biography stated that he had a degree from the University of Leeds, which the institution has denied, according to the report. He is still working on opening up a restaurant, Ooze and Schmooze in St. Petersburg. "I was wrong to exaggerate in statements related to my experiences ... [with] the Royal Family," Irvine said in a written statement. "I am truly sorry for misleading people and misstating the facts." As of this writing, The Food Network has announced that it will not renew Irvine’s contract.
    Marilee Jones
    Marilee Jones In an incredible ironic twist of fate, Marliee Jones, the longtime Dean of Admissions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, stepped down in April 2007 after she admitted that she had falsified her own resumé in order to get the position. Jones, who was first hired by MIT in 1979, had made representations that she had degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Union College and Albany Medical College. In fact, she had no degree from any of those institutions or any other university, according to officials at MIT. Jones had recently published a book, Less Stress, More Success: A New Approach to Guiding Your Teen Through College Admissions and Beyond in which it is written, "Holding integrity is sometimes very hard to do because the temptation may be to cheat or cut corners. But just remember that 'what goes around comes around,' meaning that life has a funny way of giving back what you put out." In a statement posted on MIT's web site, Jones said, "I misrepresented my academic degrees when I first applied to M.I.T. 28 years ago and did not have the courage to correct my résumé when I applied for my current job or at any time since. I am deeply sorry for this and for disappointing so many in the M.I.T. community and beyond who supported me, believed in me, and who have given me extraordinary opportunities."
    Ron Kagan
    Ron Kagan In July 2002, Ron Kagan, longtime director of the Detroit Zoo, admitted that he had not completed the requirements for his Ph.D. in zoology as had been claimed. In fact, Kagan said that he completed the coursework, wrote the dissertation, but had not gotten the final sign off from one of his advisors, who had since passed away. The Detroit Zoological Society's Board of Directors, noting that a doctoral degree was not a requirement for the job, voted to keep Kagan as its director, but docked him one month's salary ($16,000) and reprimanded him for his academic misrepresentation. Kagan issued an apology which stated in part, "I want to sincerely apologize to the Detroit Zoological Society staff, volunteers, members, donors, guests, the community, and all who love and support our Detroit Zoo for my mistake. While an apology won't correct it, I do want everyone to know that I'm truly sorry."
    Kenneth E. Keiser
    Kenneth E. Keiser Currently serving as President and Chief Operating Officer of PepsiAmericas, Kenneth E. Keiser had also served as a member of the board of directors for C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc., an international shipping concern, since August 2005. However, Keiser has since left the board of C.H. Robinson, perhaps because the company was embarrassed at having published false information about Keiser’s educational background in its SEC filings. The filings stated that Keiser had received a bachelor of arts degree from Michigan State University. However, research revealed that he had, in fact, attended from 1973 to 1976, but never graduated or received a degree. Company spokesmen defended Keiser, stating it was their error and moved to correct the misstatements.
    Michael E. Kiley
      In November 2006, Michael E. Kiley, a senior executive with publicly traded Competitive Technologies, Inc. based in Fairfield, Connecticut, is reported to have falsified his educational background and resigned from the company. A 2006 filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission stated the following: "Michael Kiley, who had been Competitive Technologies Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, resigned on November 27, 2006 after having only served as COO of the Company since August 25, 2005. Mr. Michael Kiley, formerly titled Dr. Michael Kiley, falsified his resumé and credentials for his employment at the Company. Michael Kiley's resumé claimed he had a PhD in Econometrics from Boston University. Boston University has verified that Michael Kiley does not have a PhD degree. Mr. Kiley claimed a PhD for obtaining employment with the Company and Mr. Kiley's false credentials were given to shareholders and included in reports to the SEC including Annual Reports and the Company's reports on Form 10-K." The company announced that it was retaining Kiley as an independent consultant to the company and was not planning on filling the now-vacant Chief Operating Officer's position.
    Ramanathan Kumar
      As Director of Research at proxy advisory firm, Institutional Shareholder Services (“ISS”), Ramanathan “Ram” Kumar held a significant position making proxy recommendations for institutional clients. Kumar was originally hired in 1998 as an analyst in the US Research department and later Assistant Director of US Proxy Research. However, Kumar represented that he had a law degree from the University of Southern California Law School and an undergraduate degree from John’s Hopkins. While his undergraduate degree was legitimate, it was revealed in September 2002 that he did in fact attend USC Law School, he never completed the degree. Kumar is currently based in New York City as Assistant Vice President at Radford, a corporate analytical and compensation consulting firm owned by risk consulting giant, AON.
    J. Terrence Lanni
    J. Terrence Lanni J. Terrence Lanni, who was commonly known as “Terri” or “Terry” Lanni, became Chairman and CEO of gaming giant MGM Grand, Inc. in 1995. The reputed “Mr. Nice Guy” of the US gaming industry, oversaw the acquisition of Mirage Resorts in May 2000, creating MGM Mirage with revenues approaching $9 billion. However, on November 30, 2008, Lanni abruptly resigned amid accusations that he had falsified his educational background. In another one of Barry Minkow’s Fraud Discovery Institute revelations, it was revealed that Lanni did not have degrees from the University of Southern California as he had claimed. Lanni reportedly claimed he had received an honorary degree, but university officials also disputed that as well. While denying any connection to the degree controversy, Lanni’s stated claim for leaving MGM was for “personal” reasons. Complicating matters for Lanni was the fact that gaming officials in Nevada contemplated an investigation into whether he had falsified information on gaming license applications. He ultimately resigned from the MGM board, short circuiting any such investigation. On corporate bios dating as far back as 1982, according to the Wall Street Journal, Lanni represented that he had an MBA degree from USC that was conferred in 1967. The Journal found that Lanni did not receive any MBA from USC, nor did he receive a B.A. degree in speech. University records did confirm that Lanni had received a B.S. degree in business from USC in 1965. Lanni had reported compensation of $9.6 million in salary and bonuses for the year prior to his resignation. Ironically, Lanni is currently serving on the Board of Overseers of USC’s Keck School for Medicine.
    Robert M. Lazarowitz
      In or about 1988, Robert M. Lazarowitz co-founded and became chief financial officer of Jersey City, New Jersey-based brokerage Knight Capital Markets, LLC and later its chief operating officer. He ultimately became an executive vice president of the company’s parent, Knight Capital Group, Inc. and was appointed to the board of directors in May 2001. SEC filings as late as 2007 included in Lazarowitz’ biography the statement: “Mr. Lazarowitz received a B.S. in Accounting from the University of South Florida in 1978.” However, USF records revealed that Lazarowitz only attended for two semesters in 1975 and 1976. Upon the revelation, again made by Barry Minkow’s Fraud Discovery Institute in November 2008, Lazarowitz issued a statement saying, “I regret and take full responsibility for this mistake.” Lazarowitz has since left the board of Knight Group and is now the owner/operator of The Gym, a fitness training business he started in 2002, based in Montvale, New Jersey with branches in Englewood, New Jersey and Armonk, New York.
    Kenneth E. Lonchar
    Kenneth E. Lonchar In another case with a touch of irony, Veritas Software Corporation's CFO, Ken Lonchar resigned in October 2002 when it was revealed that he did not have an MBA degree from Stanford University or an accounting degree from Arizona State University as claimed. Veritas, which means "truth" in Latin, saw its stock drop about 15 percent the day his misrepresentation was announced. The stock was also downgraded by analysts and shareholder lawsuits ensued, alleging fraudulent financials, among other things. In fact, Lonchar received his undergraduate from Idaho State University. Lonchar is quoted in his apology as saying, "I regret this misstatement of my educational background. Under the circumstances, I believe my resignation is in the best interests of both the company and myself." He had served as CFO for Veritas since 1997 and was with a predecessor company as CFO for two years before that. In July 2007, the SEC filed suit against Lonchar and four other Veritas executives for filing "false and misleading" financial statements between 2000 and 2002. The case is ongoing.
    Vahid Manian
    Vahid Manian Until December 3, 2008, Vahid Manian, reputed in media reports as “the most accomplished operations executive in the entire semiconductor industry, “ had served as senior vice president and head of manufacturing operations for Irvine, California-based Broadcom Corporation, a maker of chips for flat screen televisions. Thanks again to Barry Minkow’s Fraud Discovery Institute, Manian’s resumé fraud was revealed in November 2008. According to company SEC filings and Broadcom’s web site at the time, Manian claimed to have bachelors in electrical engineering and masters of business administration degrees from the University of California at Irvine. However, it turns out that Manian attended the school between September 1979 and August 1983 but did not receive any degrees, according to a university spokesperson. He had been employed by Broadcom since 1996 but was fired by the company upon confirmation of the educational discrepancies. Just prior to the revelations, Manian had been elected as vice chairman of The Global Semiconductor Alliance. He was also a director of publicly traded STEC Inc. and resigned from the board a day after being fired from Broadcom. In January 2009, Manian joined Symwave Corporation’s technical advisory board. He is also an investor in Santa Ana, California-based consumer mortgage rate consolidator, ICanBuy.
    Larry W. McNamara
      Atlanta-based hazardous waste treatment firm, Perma-Fix Environmental Services, Inc. hired Larry McNamara in December 1998 and ultimately promoted him in October 2005 as its chief operating officer. At the time of his promotion, announced by the company, it was represented that he was a graduate of the University of Iowa, with a B.S. in industrial engineering. Other company materials as well as SEC filings made the same assertion, apparently as a result of claims made by McNamara himself. However, it was revealed in July 2009 that McNamara had lied about his educational background and that he was “not a college graduate.” McNamara resigned his position as COO of Perma-Fix effective September 1, 2009.
    James J. Minder
      The irony keeps coming with the story of James Minder, who was appointed Chairman of the Board of gun manufacturer, Smith & Wesson Corporation in 2001. In a story the Arizona Republic published in February 2004 it was revealed that Minder had served some 15 years in prison in the 1950s and 60s for a series of armed robberies and an attempted escape. Upon the disclosure Minder resigned the chairmanship stating that he never intended to mislead Smith & Wesson. Convicted felons typically cannot own or possess a firearm in the US. Minder was attending the University of Michigan at the time of his first conviction in 1951 and was known for carrying a sawed-off shotgun. For his part, after getting out of prison in 1969, Minder appears to have led an exemplary life. He earned two bachelor's degrees and a master's degree in social work from the University of Michigan and is reported to have run a successful non-profit agency for troubled youths and developmentally disabled youths in Michigan for 20 years. Minder, in his late 70s, is retired in Scottsdale, Arizona.
    Bryan J. Mitchell
    Bryan J. Mitchell On November 3, 2002, MCG Capital, a Virginia-based financial concern, announced that its chairman, Bryan J. Mitchell had been replaced as a result of his misrepresentation of his educational background. Mitchell had indicated in official biographies and his resumé that he was a graduate of Syracuse University. In fact, Mitchell had attended Syracuse for three years and Washington College for two, but did not have a degree from either. Nevertheless, MCG's board allowed Mitchell to stay on as CEO on the condition that he repay his 2001 bonus, forgo any 2002 bonus and repay his indebtedness to the company. Mitchell said in a statement, "I should never have allowed this inaccurate representation to occur. There is no excuse for the inexcusable. I intend to do everything possible to affirm the trust that the Board has placed in me." Mitchell resigned as CEO of MCG Capital on August 24, 2006 amid a dispute with the company over interest payments due on company loans made to him. Mitchell received a $1.5 million severance package and signed a non-disparagement agreement with the company.
    Michael F. O'Brien
      Illinois Circuit Court Judge Michael F. O'Brien displayed two Medals of Honor engraved with his name in his courtroom. He marched in parades, told stories of his valor and gave speeches about how he earned the medals. The problem is that he had earned neither. The fraud was discovered when O'Brien applied for special Medal of Honor license plates and a skeptical DMV clerk contacted an actual recipient, Harold Fritz, who exposed the judge. O'Brien admitted the medals were not his and resigned from the bench in December 1995 when the revelation was made. A law was later passed criminalizing the fraudulent display of the Medal of Honor. O'Brien died in an automobile accident in 2005.
    George O'Leary
    George O'Leary In December 2001, five days after being hired as the head coach for the University of Notre Dame football team, George O'Leary abruptly resigned, admitting that he had misrepresented his academic and athletic background. O'Leary claimed that he earned a master's degree from New York University in 1972, but NYU officials revealed that he had only been a student there and did not receive any degree. O'Leary also claimed that he had earned three varsity letters while he was a student at the University of New Hampshire. UNH officials said he did not earn three letters and in fact, never played in a single game. O'Leary is quoted as saying, "Many years ago, as a young married father, I sought to pursue my dream as a football coach. In seeking employment I prepared a resumé that contained inaccuracies regarding my completion of course work for a master's degree and also my level of participation in football at my alma mater. These misstatements were never stricken from my resumé or biographical sketch in later years." O'Leary further went on to say in his statement, "Due to a selfish and thoughtless act many years ago, I have personally embarrassed Notre Dame, its alumni and fans." O'Leary had been head coach at Georgia Tech for seven seasons, compiling a record of 52 - 33 earning five bowl invitations. O'Leary is currently the head coach at the University of Central Florida.
    Pat J. Palmer
      In or about 1991, Pat Palmer was hired as an assistant research scientist by the University of Iowa. Over the course of the following 11 years, Palmer applied for and obtained federal grant monies for various research studies. However, in the summer of 2002, the university discovered that Palmer had fabricated her educational background. She had not, as claimed on her official curriculum vitae, received any of the four educational degrees listed - a B.S. from the University of Northern Iowa; an M.S. and an M.P.H. from the University of California at Berkeley; and a dual Ph.D. in Epidemiology/Bio-statistics from the University of Iowa itself. Palmer reportedly admitted that she had only completed some college coursework and had not received any degrees. Palmer was dismissed from the University of Iowa and prosecuted for theft and falsifying public documents, a misdemeanor. She pleaded guilty in October 2003 to first-degree theft and falsifying academic degrees and sentenced to three years of probation. Palmer was also ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and restitution to the University in the amount of $19,000. The Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Research Integrity found in February 2004 that Palmer had engaged in scientific misconduct by falsifying her credentials; fabricating at least six interview records in connection with a research project; and falsely claimed to have co-authored at least 10 research articles.
    Jeffrey P. Papows
    Jeffrey P. Papows In early January 2000, Jeffrey Papows, President & CEO of IBM's Cambridge, Mass-based Lotus Development Corporation, resigned after eight-year tenure with the company. Papows had been dogged by the revelation made by the Wall Street Journal in April 1999 that he had embellished his resumé, including his education, military experience and personal background. At the time of his resignation, Papows was also facing allegations of sexual harassment made by a subordinate. Papows had claimed to have a Ph.D. from Pepperdine University when in fact he held a master's degree from that institution and a Ph.D. from an unaccredited correspondence school. Papows claimed to be a black belt in Tae Kwan Do, but actually had a red belt. His story about being an orphan also turned out to be untrue - his parents lived in Massachusetts. His stories about becoming a Marine aviator rising to the rank of Captain, who burst an eardrum when he ejected from a Phantom F4 in a training accident before the first Gulf War and how he had saved himself and a comrade by throwing himself onto a grenade, also were contradicted. In fact, he was a lieutenant when he left the Marines in 1979 and operated more or less as an air traffic controller during his service. Marine Corps records are reported to indicate that Papows had no flight time. IBM/Lotus stood behind Papows who defended himself when the allegations surfaced telling employees in an e-mail message that the Wall Street Journal article "includes false allegations about my career and military experience" without denying any specific charge. Lotus spokesman indicated that Papows departure from the company was not a result of the misrepresentations or sexual harassment charge, but rather to pursue other opportunities.
    Sarah Pawa
      In early June 2007, Sarah Pawa resigned her position as Director of Social Work Services at the Massachusetts state-run Lemuel Shattuck Hospital when it was revealed that she had falsified her educational and licensing credentials. Pawa, who had worked in that capacity for five years, claimed to have a master's degree in social work and a doctorate in education from Boston University. This claim was refuted by BU officials who reported that Pawa had attended the institution, but received no degrees. Her resumé also listed a 1983 undergraduate degree in psychology and French from Cornell University. However, Cornell officials reported that they had no record of Pawa ever attending, let alone graduating. At the time of her hiring, Pawa's resumé also claimed that she was a practicing psychologist and clinical social worker. Massachusetts professional licensing officials reported that Pawa did not hold licenses in either profession. The disclosures about Pawa came after an anonymous letter to the Mass Department of Health called her credentials into question, prompting an investigation. The findings prompted an inquiry into how state employees' backgrounds and credentials are vetted.
    Gregory Probert
      In April 2008, Gregory Probert, Chief Operating Officer of Herbalife, admitted to lying on his resumé about receiving an MBA degree from California State University in Los Angeles. In another case uncovered by Barry Minkow of ZZZZ Best infamy and reported by the Wall Street Journal, Probert’s official biography as outlined in SEC filings and other public pronouncements fraudulently listed an MBA degree. CSU officials confirmed that Probert had attended the institution in the early 1980s, but he never completed his degree. As a result, Probert resigned his position with the company. He had joined the company in 2003 from the Walt Disney Company.
    Ann Purzner
    Ann Purzner In April 2006, Ann Purzner was elected Mayor of Overland, Missouri with just a five vote margin. However, beginning in June 2006, a recall effort was commenced, in part due to her misrepresentation of professional credentials. After just 11 months in office, Purzner was recalled on April 3, 2007, losing in a nearly 3-1 vote ratio. During the original campaign, Purzner had claimed to be a registered nurse. However, this was demonstrably false, as she was in reality a medical assistant. In fact, in 2002 the Missouri nursing board found that Purzner had pretended to be a registered nurse and lied about attending the nursing school at Maryville University. The nursing board banned her from practicing or representing herself as a registered nurse. After the 2006 election, Purzner was sued for exceeding her authority as Mayor by a county prosecutor. Purzner, who once called herself an “angel,” lost the case and was branded a “liar” with “zero credibility” by the prosecutor.
    Thomas V. Reifenheiser
      Thomas V. Reifenheiser, a director of several companies, including Lamar Advertising Co., of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, admitted that he had embellished his resumé with a false claim of an MBA degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, according to the Wall Street Journal. He is also a director of Citadel Broadcasting Corp., Cablevision Systems Corp. and Mediacom Communications Corp. Reifenheiser’s fabrication was revealed, ironically, by Barry Minkow of ZZZZ Best infamy, who operates as a fraud investigator in San Diego (see our profile in the White Collar Rogues Gallery for Minkow here). Minkow has been working to reveal other discrepancies in executive backgrounds and has been praised by the FBI in doing so. Reifenheiser, in commenting about the controversy is reported to say, “It was a very busy time for me, and I just never completed [the MBA degree].” He also contends that it is immaterial and has not voluntarily or been asked to step down from any of his positions to date.
    T'Challa Ross
      In March 1998, employment search firm Robert Half International recruited T'Challa Ross to be a temporary bookkeeper for Fox Associates, Inc., a Chicago-based advertising agency. Fox Associates hired her after a month and paid a finders fee to the search firm. However, according to court records, Ross began to embezzle from her new employer, taking blank checks and forging signatures. She was able to steal some $70,000 over the course of about a year before being caught. Unfortunately, this was not the first time Ross stole from an employer. Two months before being hired by Fox Associates, Ross pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $190,000 from another employer and sentenced to 4 years probation and 100 hours of community service. In her employment application it is reported that Ross answered "no" to questions about criminal convictions. Fox Associates sued Robert Half International over the issue in an attempt to recover some of the monies Ross stole. A judge threw out the case stating that Robert Half was in the "talent business, not the criminal investigations business." In August 2001, Ross was convicted on 10 counts of theft and forgery.
    Gene Shen
    Gene Shen On January 31, 2002, Gene Shen, the flamboyant president of EDS Corp.'s A.T. Kearney Executive Search unit, resigned amid allegations that he had falsified his curriculum vitae. Shen is reported to have falsely claimed to have master's degrees from Harvard and Tufts Universities. Also at issue was his claim to have been a founder of the Whitney Group, a company he worked for previously - an assertion that was denied by the Whitney Group. The misrepresentations came to light when search industry consulting firm, Hunt Scanlon Group questioned his credentials. After his departure from A.T. Kearney, the Wall Street Journal published an article reported that Shen owed some $80,000 in credit card expenses that he was in dispute with the company. Gene Shen is currently a managing partner with the Options Group, an executive search firm.
    Dr. Paul Shrode
    Dr. Paul Shrode As Medical Examiner for El Paso, Texas, Dr. Paul Shrode performed autopsies subject to legal scrutiny. However, came under scrutiny after submitting three conflicting resumes as an expert witness. It was revealed in 2007 that that Shrode misrepresented his academic and medical credentials. Many of the cases he testified have been or are in the process of being reviewed as to credibility. In one resumé Shrode had claimed he had a “graduate law degree” from Southwest Texas State University – demonstrably false since the institution has no law school. Another resumé claimed he had a “degree in law” from a school of political science and that he was a member of the State Bar of Texas from 1979 to 1983. A third resumé said that he had a “degree in law’” and that his bar membership was as a paralegal. According to the State Bar of Texas, these claims are false. He also represented that he was a board certified pathologist and/or a certified forensic pathologies – both of which claims are false. Defense counsel began using the credibility issue to impugn Shrode’s expert testimony in murder cases. The controversies ultimately resulting in his being voted out of his position – effectively fired – by a four member Commissioners Court on May 24, 2010 – three years after the revelations were made.
    William E. Simms
    William E. Simms In May 1997, Bill Simms, Transamerica Corp.'s highest ranking African-American executive resigned when it was disclosed that he had significantly misrepresented his resumé. Simms had been with Transamerica since 1972, rising to the level of President of a newly created insurance products division earlier in 1997. The discrepancies were highlighted in an article published in the Charlotte Observer wherein Simms apparently claimed to have an undergraduate degree from USC which allowed him to rise into management in 1974. He also claimed to have a master's degree from USC, won an Olympic Gold medal in the 1968 Olympics, run track with OJ Simpson while at USC and was the only survivor of his high school four-man track relay team - the others allegedly killed on the tough streets of Los Angeles. Simms, who was based in Charlotte, North Carolina for Transamerica, had become one of the 14 owners of the Carolina Panthers. He also helped raise $4 million to build a new track for UNC - Charlotte. In an interview with the Charlotte Observer, Simms is quoted as saying that the lie about his educational background was what he "needed to get started, no question. It would have been difficult to have risen to this level." Simms later went on to serve as president and CEO of the non-profit, 100 Black Men of America, based in Atlanta.
    Quincy Troupe
    Quincy Troupe In October 2001, prominent poet Quincy Troupe was awaiting confirmation to become California's first Poet Laureate, a position to which he had been appointed by the governor in June, when the process was derailed. The state background check could not confirm his educational background and, confronted with the discrepancy, Troupe admitted that he did not graduate or receive any degree from Grambling State University in Louisiana as previously claimed. Troupe who had actually attended Grambling for a couple of years in the 1950s, resigned from the Poet Laureate position. Two months later, in December 2002, Troupe resigned his position as University of California writing professor. At the time, Troupe had published some 14 books and received many awards, including the Peabody. In a statement made by the governor's office, Troupe said, "I deeply regret my ill-advised decision to include inaccurate information on my curriculum vitae." Troupe continues to write and be published, most recently, The Pursuit of Happyness, a biography Chris Gardner, a rags-to-riches story.
    Stanley J. Usovicz, Jr.
    Stanley J. Usovicz, Jr. One week before election day in late October 2001, the Salem Evening News ran a report that the Massachusetts city's incumbent mayor, Stanley Usovicz, had fabricated his educational background. Usovicz had claimed in his resumé that he had a BS degree from the University of Massachusetts. Two days later, Usovicz admitted to the voting public that he did not have the degree as claimed, stating, "It was a dumb and stupid thing for me to do, and one that I'm quite clearly ashamed of." In spite of this revelation and the fact that the newspaper rescinded its endorsement of Usovicz, he was elected to his third term as Mayor of Salem. Usovicz served as Salem's mayor from January 1998 to January 2006. Usovicz went on to complete his undergraduate degree from Endicott College. In July 2006, Usovicz was hired by the City of Smithfield, Rhode Island, to be their City Manager where he quickly became caught in a political crossfire. After surviving a vote in May 2007 to fire him, he shortly thereafter resigned his position "for personal and family reasons."
    Brian T. Valery
    Brian T. Valery In 1996, Brian Valery began work as a paralegal for the prestigious New York law firm, Anderson, Kill & Olick for $21,000 a year. In 1998, Valery, who had not completed his undergraduate degree, informed his bosses that he was attending Fordham Law School at night. In 2002, Valery told the law firm that he had finally completed his law degree and they promoted him. In October 2004, after three attempts, he told his colleagues, passed the bar exam and was admitted to the Bar. Meanwhile, he was earning a lawyer's salary and began representing clients. Unfortunately, none of Valery's claims were true. An old college acquaintance saw Valery's name in connection with the OxyContin product liability litigation matter and called the law firm when he could not find Valery on any attorney listing. Anderson Kill & Olick promptly fired Valery, sued him for some $284,000, claiming that was the amount of money he defrauded them in salary differential. Valery was also referred for prosecution and in June 2007, he was indicted on 32 counts of fraud, including grand larceny. On October 10, 2007, Valery pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree larceny. The judge ordered that Valery must repay at least $150,000 of the amount he stole by his scheduled January 2008 sentencing or face going to prison for 15 years.
    Mark Eric Villeneuve
      In 2004, Mark E. Villeneuve graduated from Western New England College School of Law with a J.D. degree. In November 2004, Villeneuve, a resident of Augusta, Maine, was admitted to the Connecticut Bar. However, in an application for a staff attorney position at the Connecticut state Workers’ Compensation Commission in 2008, Villeneuve claimed he had graduated cum laude and was a law review editor at WNEC School of Law. Both of these claims were found to be false and Villeneuve had his law license suspended by Connecticut in January 2010. Villeneuve had also claimed he had worked at the Law Offices of Jean Smith in Meriden, Connecticut handling “all kinds of workers comp cases.” However, such a firm does not exist. For his part, Villeneuve is now suing Connecticut in federal court to be reinstated. Villeneuve is now representing himself to be affiliated as “counsel” with the “Culkin Law Firm” in the Hartford, Connecticut area. However, our own cursory research failed to identify any such a firm.
    Steven M. Welchons
      In another fake lawyer case, Steven M. Welchons, who for two years acted as a public defender in Madison County, New York, was exposed as a fraud in June 1995 after representing as many as 2,000 clients. Welchons not only fooled the good citizens of Madison County, but also his wife and friends. In fact, Welchons never went to law school and indeed did not even have an undergraduate degree. Welchons got a job as a student intern at the Oneida County Public Defender's Office in 1985. He later told his boss that he was going to law school at Syracuse University. When his old boss became head of the Madison County Public Defender's Office in 1993, Welchons went to him and was hired on the spot without the usual vetting. Welchons' deception came to light after dissatisfied clients complained about his qualifications and performance, prompting an investigation by the Legal Aid Office. After being confronted by his boss, Welchons attempted suicide, but survived. He was later criminally charged with fraud and in February 1996, Welchons plead guilty to one felony count of second-degree grand larceny. A plea agreement placed Welchons on probation for five years and he agreed to repay some of the $50,000 salary to which he was not entitled. Welchons, now in his mid-40s, is believed to reside in Oneida County, New York.
    Adam B. Wheeler
    Adam B. Wheeler One of the most brazen acts of resumé fraud involves Adam Wheeler, a young man from Delaware who, in 2006, faked his way into Harvard University, fraudulently obtained scholarships and financial aid, then made false applications for a number of jobs and internship positions after his was kicked out for academic dishonesty. Harvard began looking into Wheeler’s credentials when he applied for Rhodes and Fulbright scholarships his senior year. Wheeler’s applications claimed he had a perfect 4.0 grade point average and had written a number of books and articles, among other things while at the institution. Harvard found that these claims were fabricated and in fact that his entire tenure at the university was based upon lies. His original application to attend Harvard claimed he had perfect SAT scores. University officials also found that he had forged documents that purportedly showed he had attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass as well as taken classes at M.I.T. In fact, he had attended high school in Delaware, had a combined SAT score of about 1,100 and had been kicked out of Bowdoin College in Maine for plagiarizing an essay. Harvard also accused Wheeler of plagiarism upon examining some of his purported articles and papers. After being booted from Harvard, Wheeler applied for transfer to Brown University and Yale University as an Ivy league transfer. He also applied for internships at the New Republic Magazine and prestigious McLean Hospital. The transfers and applications all included the academic falsifications as well as numerous other false claims, including the assertion that he was in demand on the lecture circuit, spoke French, Old English, Classical Armenian, and Old Persian and was the co-author of a number of books. The New Republic published his fantastical resumé here. For his brazenness, Wheeler was charged criminally in May 2010 with 20 counts, including identity fraud, larceny and forgery. He has pleaded not guilty and his supporters have created a Free Adam Wheeler Facebook page. Wheeler described himself in 2007 in the following manner: “My own, brief, assessment of my character is that I am sententious, crypto-tendentious, slightly pedantic with a streak of contrarianism, a fascination with any pedagogical approach to Shakespeare, and a decent sense of humor.” We will be following this case.
    Dennis L. Workman
      Dennis Workman joined Trimble Navigation Ltd. in 1995 and became its Vice President & Chief Technical Officer in March 2006. Trimble is a provider of advanced GPS and positioning solutions. However, in SEC filings, Workman’s bio claimed he had a master’s degree in electrical engineering from MIT. However, this turned out not to be true. Workman did attend MIT for two years in the late 1960s and studied physics, but did not receive a degree. Trimble’s subsequent SEC filings have reflected the corrected professional biography for Workman. As of this writing, he remains employed in that position.
    Ronald L. Zarella
    Ronald L. Zarella In October 2002, an online journalist exposed Bausch & Lomb Chairman & CEO, Ron Zarella as having misrepresented his educational background. In official corporate biographies, Zarella claimed to have an MBA from NYU's Stern School of Business. In fact, he attended between 1972 and 1976, but never received an MBA. When the disclosure was made, Bausch & Lomb stock immediately dropped nearly 7 percent. Zarella offered to resign from Bausch & Lomb, but the company's board refused his offer. Instead, he retained his job, but agreed to forgo his 2002 bonus which would have amounted to $1.1 million. He also kept his salary of $1.1 million, plus stock options and other bonuses. Zarella blamed the misrepresentation on a clerical error, stating, "I'm embarrassed that this incorrect information has appeared. Clearly it's my obligation to proofread such things carefully and ensure their accuracy." However, the MBA was also reported to be on his resumé when he was hired by General Motors in 1994. Zarella who previously worked for Bausch & Lomb from 1985 - 1994, remains Chairman & CEO of Bausch & Lomb.
     

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