May 27th, 2010 | Sterling

Fake Degree Leads to Arrest

Usually when we talk about fake degrees, we are referring to diploma or degree mills. There have been many stories in the news as of late about people using academic credentials purchased by these “schools” to either land a job or obtain a higher position or pay.  In addition to the issuing the diploma or degree, many of these institutions offer to verify their “authenticity” in order to make their product seem like the real deal.

In this story, however, the degree this individual claimed was not from a diploma mill – it was from the University of Miami.  Apparently this guy thought it would be a good idea forge a degree document from the school, photocopy it and submit it to a potential employer in order to land a $127,932/year paying position.  All it took was one phone call to the University of Miami to find out he had never attended the college.  He now faces one charge of criminal possession of a forged instrument and three charges of offering a false instrument for filing.  If convicted, he could end up serving an 11-year prison sentence.

BUSTED: Sanitation construction project manager arrested for submitting a fake degree

Myles Miller, NY City Hall Examiner – May 26, 2010


The Department of Investigation arrested city Sanitation Department construction project manager Bernard Feraca, 57 of Bronxville, NY for using a “fake academic degree to land a high paying City job”, according to DOI Commissioner Rose Gil Hearn.

Feraca, who submitted a fake Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from the University of Miami, was charged today with criminal possession of a forged instrument and three counts of offering a false instrument for filing. If convicted, Feraca could face 11 years in prison. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., has assigned ADA Peter Rienzi to prosecute this case.

Fereca, joined the Department of Sanitation in February 2010, and was assigned to the Engineering Support Services unit.

His city salary was $127,932; he has been suspended without pay.

Under a city policy the DOI conducts a thorough background check of roughly 2,000 employees annually who are promoted to management positions, earn more than $80,000 annually and deal with city contracts or  super sensitive city computer programs.

According to the criminal complaint filed in Manhattan Criminal Court a DOI “investigation found that on January 22nd, 2010, the defendant submitted to DSNY a photocopy of his purported Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering.”

The investigation proved there was no record of Feraca ever being a student at the University of Miami.

On Feraca’s Facebook page he has two friends who went to the University of Miami, and lists among his likes “Big Prize Giveaways.”

This is the latest in a series of bogus diplomas and degrees from city employees. In 2007, a DOI report showed the submission of “bogus degrees” in the Fire Department. That investigation resulted in “14 disciplinary actions and improved verification procedures at the FDNY” according to the Department of Investigation.

Sterling is not a law firm. This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.