- Company trains qualified locals and hires them on hefty pay packages to tender paraphrased research articles for clients
- Axact’s Education Department steals registered courses from journals, churns out fake courses to go with American sounding fictitious colleges, professors
Apart from the alleged sale of fake diplomas and degrees through its online universities and colleges, Karachi-based IT company Axact has also been offering its services as “proxy students”, filling in for all the academic work originally assigned to students enrolled in reputed educational institutions in US, Pakistan Today has learnt.
Documents available with Pakistan Today show that Axact has been managing the academic profiles of thousands of its clients; charging them for maintaining their grades.
“If one wants to have a diploma from some accredited and recognised US online institute, no worries, just get enrolled, the remaining jobs; such as assignments, quizzes and tests, would be done by a brilliant team at Axact,” a company insider told Pakistan Today on condition of anonymity.
Investigation further reveals that one of Axact’s clients, Kathleen Barry, is enrolled with Chicago-based Bellevue University, which is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission through the US Department of Education. She is enrolled in the university courses; Egyptian Tombs and Treasures (module 2147-1) and Survey of Art Since 1400 (module 2145-1).
Barry outsourced her studies to Axact and being relieved of studying tough modules, she worked extra hours to pay Axact for those phony jobs, insiders said.
For years, Axact has been running, what educationist Moazzam Ali Shah called “unethical business of cheating universities through its educational services for the students”.
“We never know if Barry would be teaching Art in some university after getting a diploma from Bellevue University. Just imagine, what would become of those students under her,” he said.
Moreover, Alec Hu Tan, a student of the University of Phoenix, Florida is enrolled in Consumer Psychology and Research course. All his assignments and mail correspondence are done at the Axact office. Alec’s account could be accessed by logging in at ecampus.phoenix.edu with ID “alec168” and password “Buonmethuot1”, as informed by Axact insiders.
HOW AXACT WORKED?
Axact has three departments at its Karachi office– Sales, Education and Research and Development.
Research and Development is reportedly run under Umaima Jalal and Umair Haroon, who hire people on luxurious salary packages. The department has about 100 employees who are initially trained for a month to write thesis, assignments and projects for students enrolled in universities.
An insider told Pakistan Today that the training was conducted by Haroon and Saad Hasan. In these training sessions, employees were given passwords of online journals from where they copied theses and rephrased it for clients.
After the month-long training, they were given certificates of being trained as Axact Research Professionals. “The Research Department in Axact is nothing more than an intellectual and copyrights theft cell in which people make assignments, dissertations and thesis for thousands of dollars,” he added.
This department also has “portal teams” which are run under Luma Qasim Naqvi, Javeria Khalid, Ali Raza and Zain Ahmed.
This department has passwords of students from various real universities, including Phoenix University, Grand Canyon University, Walden University, Ashford University, Kaplan University Devry, Trident and Strayer, and provides services for spring, fall and summer courses for $40,000 to $100,000 per client/student.
The list of courses these teams are working on for students along with the names of the universities and account details is available with Pakistan Today.
The documents show that Javeria Khalid, who was a part of Luma Naqvi’s team, was presently working on HRM, Ethics in Decision Making, Child and Adolescent Health, Research Theory Design Method, Positive Psychology-What’s Right with Me, Cultural Diversity, Business, Sociology and Health Care, Community Health and Development, 21st Century skills: Communication and Information Literacy and Managing Strategy Global Market.
Axact recently furnished assignments of Ekta Patel from Brenau University along with Fatima, Michelle Allen, Catherine Riley, Fatima Hdir, Diana, Sadegh Robinson, Niya Lee, Daryl Whiten and April who are studying in different universities.
Likewise, ‘researcher’ Beenish Hafeez was drafting assignments for Christopher for subjects including Organizational Leadership: Doctoral Theory and Practice, Building and Leadership Creative, Strategic Management, Project Management and Managing the Global Logistic Chain.
The document also mentioned in depth that Mashaal Faseeh, who is part of Ali Raza’s portal team, was preparing courses on: ICT in Environmental Science, Finance and Health Economics, Financial Planning, Principals of Accounting II, Strategic Cost Management, Financial Management, Personal Finance, Dissertation 1, Financial Management, Project Risk Management, English Composition, Principals of Hospitality and Tourism Management and Accounting for Decision Making. Her clients are Michael (Oxford), Jayne, Mark O Keny, Ameer, Olumide, David Robinson, Ekta Patel, Abdul Salam, Angel Mousa, Andrean and Ralph Saorrono.
Likewise, Anam Kazi from the same team was presently working on Comprehensive Health Assessment, Transition from LPN to BS, Spirituality in Health Care, Environment, Capstone, Clinical Intervention in Couple and Family Social Work Practice, Essentials of Nursing Research, Inquiry and Evidence-based Practice/Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in a Diverse Community, Research Methods Health Service and Nursing Research Methods courses. The clients for the these courses are Tajinder Gill, Precious Darby, Amy Thompson, Shenella White, Adeline, Garfield, Desiree, Erika Kout, Fatima Hdir and RosallyTores.
AN ‘EDUCATIONAL’ CRIME:
A former employee Fouad Khan said, “Umaima Jalal is also the head of Education Department at Axact where she heads a team of eight girls. These girls impersonate as professors in universities set up by Axact.”
Khan added that these girls are given targets to produce more and more courses by copying online material from other courses and then run their own multiple courses keeping different American names for themselves.
“The Sales Department of Axact is also involved in this crime as they call students from around the globe to join this university which will later give them degree (convincing how the university is easier than other online universities and providing the same degree),” he said.
He added that some of the universities include Mary Grand High School, Mount Lincoln University, Nicholson University, Redding University, Walford University, Wiley University, Windham University and Brooksville University.
“Rabeel Shaikh, Abida Ali, Sumaira Shoaib, Sana Aamir, Huma Ahmed, Shiza Shahab and Sadaf Zain are some of the personnel who were especially trained to cater to CVs of clients for hundreds of dollars,” Khan claimed.
A current employee, who works in the Marketing Department, told Pakistan Today, “It is sad to see that coming from great universities– such as Javeria Khalid being from CBM and Sadaf Zain from SZABIST– these people indulge in cyber crime, blinded by a handsome pay package of Rs 60,000 in salary, a car and a cell phone.”
SELLING IT MAKES IT REAL:
Furthermore, Sales and IT departments work together for selling fake degrees, say the insiders.
An employee working in the Sales Department shared that they mostly target Middle Eastern countries. “We are kept in so much pressure by our managers to meet our million dollar targets that we quote the price for the fake degree as high as we can,” he said.
“I have sold degrees ranging from $20,000 to $50,000. We charge our clients extra for the stamps and verification from US (which is fake),” she added.
“We provide this fake degree for the professional experience they have done (and make up for some who has no professional experience). A satisfied client brings a lot of business,” she said.
“We remain in touch with our clients with American numbers which are in computer and also we have WhatsApp on these numbers which makes them think we are from America. We use fake American names and speak with an American accent to convince clients,” she said.
The Axact management could not be reached for comment in this regard.
The revelation is likely to build more pressure on Axact, as Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Saturday announced that the government would approach Interpol and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for assistance in the probe into the Axact fake degree scandal.
The minister told reporters in Islamabad that Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had found substantive evidence during initial enquiry that warranted a more thorough probe into the affairs of the company.
Axact has meanwhile, vehemently denied the fake degree charges levelled against it by The New York Times investigative journalist Declan Walsh.