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Honor Among Thieves
October 16, 2007 - 11:15am



One of UD's readers sends her an article from the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Virginia, which represents an instructive fable on the importance of maintaining honor among thieves.

In this sequence of events, one diploma mill fraudster brought down another, only to be brought down himself by the guy he brought down. If you catch my drift. It's a bit complicated. Let's take a look at the article:

The seeds of Norman Fenton's downfall were planted in May 2005 when he testified in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg.

Fenton took the stand that day as an expert witness in the case against Perry Beale, a medical physicist who was accused of defrauding hospitals throughout central Virginia.

However, prosecutors learned, soon after the hearing, that Fenton too was a fraud.

Beale and Fenton both checked imaging equipment in radiology labs. Fenton reported Beale to the authorities for doing the work incorrectly, and Beale was duly discovered to have faked his credentials. Fenton testified against him in court, and Beale got four years in jail plus a big fine.

Beale was pissed. When investigators, acting on a tip about Fenton, interviewed Beale in his cell, he told police about how Fenton himself had graduated from the laughingly obvious diploma mill (obvious to everyone except the people paid to check on these things) that calls itself the University of St. Moritz.

Fenton subsequently described calling the mill and not only buying a Master's for $500, but being talking into a cum laude Ph.D. for an extra $250. He also described whipping up various professional certificates for himself at the local Rapid Copy store. State licensing agencies saw nothing amiss.

So Fenton, like Beale, gets mail fraud. But he also gets perjury, for lying on the stand about his university degrees. He's in prison now too.

There's a local angle here: Fenton attended UD's own George Washington University. He didn't graduate.

And there's a Psycho angle: Fenton's wife says she always assumed her husband graduated from GW. "Strange as it would seem, apparently he thought so too." Fenton's pastor says he was

"able to compartmentalize his academic background" to the point where he actually believed what he claimed.

I'm sure both of these people think they're helping Fenton in saying these things. But they only add "mentally disturbed" to his cv.

Moral of the tale?

'For his 'substantial' help in prosecuting Fenton, Beale received a one-year reduction in his own sentence. He is now being held in a halfway house in North Carolina and expects to be released in January.'


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