February 20, 2024

The National Police have arrested 20 people and are investigating 100 throughout Spain for acquiring falsified university degrees from around thirty Spanish universities over the Internet. The organization, based in the Dominican Republic, sold the certificates in exchange for prices ranging from 300 to more than 1,000 euros, depending on the modality chosen. The group had the capacity to stamp the die-cut stamps of dozens of universities in the country, in addition to having a repository with the signatures of numerous rectors and secretaries of university centers, the Madrid Police Headquarters has reported.

The investigation, which is still open, began in June of last year, when one of the agencies alerted the agents to the possible existence of false university degrees. The agents verified that different websites could be found in which the acquisition of counterfeit qualifications was offered. Most were part of a hoax: customers never received the certificate they requested, and vendors cut off all communication. However, the researchers detected an organization that did comply with its orders and delivered to its clients a multitude of degrees from different universities in the country.

The criminal network, which operated from the Dominican Republic, was characterized by its technical capacity and sophistication. It stamped the die-cut stamps of more than thirty Spanish universities, in addition to having a reserve with signatures of rectors and secretaries of the different centers. Once the purchase of the falsified degree was agreed, the organization demanded payment from its clients through different money transfer platforms, while the certificate was sent through an international courier company.

The alleged counterfeiters would have provided hundreds of people living in Spain with different fraudulent university degrees that their clients later used to access jobs. In many cases, those investigated were enrolled in the aforementioned universities, studying different subjects, but not being able to finish their studies, which is why they resorted to obtaining these false titles. Clients had the option of acquiring only the academic degree in digital version or the physical diploma, which included the die-cut seal, the official logo and the signatures of the university authorities.

The agents were able to prove that the organization had been engaged in this activity since 2019, although its productivity had increased since last year. Although the investigation continues to be open to the twenty arrested, crimes of documentary falsification, fraud and in some cases intrusion are attributed to them.

The National Police recommends that people and entities, when they are immersed in a personnel recruitment process, make use of the National Registry of Official University Graduates (RNTUO) of the Ministry of Universities, where all official national titles are registered. This Registry allows each interested party to consult the official Spanish university degrees they hold and, if desired, generate authorization codes so that third parties can also consult them in the aforementioned registry. In addition, it is also possible to generate an automatic verification certificate through the Citizen Folder application for the purpose of presenting it to entities that may require it.

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