A conman found to be selling fake certificates for qualifications online was sentenced on 14 January. Martin Bowman, formally of Beaconsfield Street, Darlington, was sentenced to 80 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay costs of £567.97, including a £60 victim surcharge, after knowingly selling fake certificates for qualifications.
Bowman also illegally used Ofqual’s and exam boards’ branding and logos to make the certificates seem more likely to be genuine.
Ofqual discovered this website and investigated. We monitored conversations online and purchased a number of certificates. We also discovered the address linked to the website and referred the matter to Trading Standards officers there at Darlington Borough Council. We contacted all the exam boards involved for them to take necessary action.
Michelle Meadows, Executive Director for Strategy, Risk & Research at Ofqual said:
Fake certificates for qualifications will not be tolerated and we have ensured that the website no longer provides these. We want people to feel secure in the knowledge that a qualification accredited by Ofqual is valid. People who are found to be selling fake certificates for qualifications or using the Ofqual logo illegally will face legal action.
Chris McEwan, Darlington Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy and Regeneration said:
I commend Trading Standards for bringing this important case to court. The jobs market is tough and it may be tempting to make false claims but anyone using a fake qualification certificate to get a job will be found out and ruin their employment chances. It is also a stark reminder to all businesses that employee fraud is a real threat which can have a significant financial and reputational impact. Qualification claims should always be verified.
Anyone wanting to report the sale of fake qualification certificates can contact Ofqual directly on 0300 303 3344.