Technology

Breaking: Axact’s Assistant Vice President gets $5.3 million fine, 21 months in jail

Maryam Dodhy Written by Maryam Dodhy · 1 min read>

The Axact fake degrees scandal is far from over.

A US district judge has sentenced Umair Hamid, Assistant Vice President of Axact to 21 months in prison after he pleaded guilty for his involvement in the Axact Fake Degree Scam – an international scandal that shook the company to its core. Mr. Hamid has also been fined $5,303,020.

Umair Hamid joined Axact in 2006 as an assistant executive and has since made his way to the top-tier management. After escaping punishment in Pakistan, he came to the US and was accused in December 2016 of the $140 million scam. Here he was found to be guilty of managing the online companies that were giving people fake diplomas of reputed educational institutions. Hamid has signed an acceptance letter to pay $5.3 million and a part of his wealth as fine.

The US Attorney in this matter stated:

“Operating from Pakistan, Umair Hamid helped fraudulently rake in millions of dollars from unwitting American consumers who paid to enroll in, and get degrees from, high schools and colleges that did not exist. As a result of his fraud, people who thought they were investing in an education received nothing more than worthless diplomas and a harsh lesson in the worldwide reach of deceit.”

Axact first came under fire in May 2015 when the New York Times posted an expose on their criminal side gig of distributing fake degrees. Following the fiasco, Pakistani government asked the FIA to look into the matter, while the company itself denied the allegations and termed the NYT article as baseless. FIA started its investigation and raided Axact’s offices. in July 2015, CEO Shoaib Shaikh was arrested and a case was filed against the company. However, in August 2016, in a shocking turn of events, Mr. Shaikh was released on bail and all charges against him were dropped.

Axact has since been urging employees to rejoin and even gave employees 15 months of outstanding salaries.

Charges against the CEO may have been dropped and the company may have resumed its functions but the scandal is far from over.

Written by Maryam Dodhy
I love bringing to light stories of extraordinary people working in Pakistan's tech and startup industry. You can reach out to me through maryamdodhy@techjuice.pk. Profile