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U.S. Charges Pakistani Executive In $140 Million 'Fake Diploma' Fraud

Pakistani policemen stand guard outside the offices of software house Axact in Karachi, in May 2015.

U.S. prosecutors have charged a Pakistani executive for his part in an alleged $140 million "fake-diploma mill" fraud, the latest step in a global crackdown touched off by arrests in Pakistan last year.

Umair Hamid, 30, an executive at software firm Axact, was charged on December 21 with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft in connection with a scam that impacted tens of thousands of consumers.

Hamid was arrested on December 19, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.

Pakistan had asked U.S. authorities last year to help it investigate Axact, which had been suspected of earning millions of dollars from the sale of bogus university degrees online.

Even after Pakistani authorities shut Axact down in May 2015, Hamid continued to sell fake diplomas, duping U.S. consumers into paying up-front fees to enroll in fake high schools and colleges, Bharara said.

"Hamid allegedly took hefty up-front fees from young men and women seeking an education, leaving them with little more than useless pieces of paper," Bharara said.

With reporting by Reuters