Catch me if you can

Degree Fraud Jail Time

“‘Why don’t you fly this bird for a while, Frank’, he said. ‘I’ll go back and mingle with the paying passengers’... I promptly put the giant jet on automatic pilot and hoped the gadget worked, because I couldn’t fly a kite.”

Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of A Real Fake (Frank Abagnale, Stan Redding).

In 2002 the alleged true story of Frank Abagnale successfully impersonating an airline pilot, teaching assistant, doctor, and attorney in multiple countries in the late 20th Century was brought to the big screen and heralded commercial success. Meanwhile in modern day Britain, one in ten Brits have lied on their CV, with lies about education and qualifications the most common. In light of Prospect Hedd’s Degree Fraud Awareness Week we have delved into the world of lies, cons, and tricks to remind us of the vital importance of rigorous background screening.


Earlier this year hospital radiologist Dr David Foster was struck off the medical register after no evidence was found that he had ever been on the GP register nor had he undertaken any training in General Practice – despite two of his CVs claiming that he had previously been a GP. Additionally, in January this year Peter Knight (former Chief information and digital officer at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) pleaded guilty to fraud and received a two-year suspended sentence after it was discovered that his CV falsely stated that he held a degree. More recently in June of this year, 262 airline pilots were grounded following an inquiry into a fatal Pakistan International Airlines crash one month prior, due to suspicions that the pilots had “dodged” their exams. The International Air Transport Association has stated that this represents a “serious lapse” in both licensing and safety.

In 1969, famous fraudster Frank Abagnale was arrested and was subsequently convicted on multiple counts of fraud, forgery, and swindling. Stories such as these evidently make for great entertainment on the big screen, however the real-life damage of these lies can be insurmountable; according to People Management recruitment fraud can cost businesses £23.9 billion annually. As well as financial and reputational damage to the hiring company, fraud also has consequences for the individual; lying about or embellishing your qualifications for personal gain falls under the Fraud Act 2006 and can carry a prison sentence of up to 10 years.


Have a look at the links below for more information on the above and make sure to keep an eye out for the global webinar on degree fraud this week from HEDD

Launched in 2011 HEDD is the UK Higher Education’s official service for candidate verification and university authentication and one of the services utilised by Tango Check to ensure we mitigate our clients’ risk when hiring new starters.  01908 683 094

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