THE POLICIA NACIONAL has arrested 20 people and are investigating another hundred in Spain for online purchases of bogus degrees from approximately 30 Spanish universities.
A criminal group based in the Dominican Republic sold the degree certificates for prices ranging between €300 and over €1,000 depending on the university and class of degree chosen.
The gang had the ability to use seals and stamps of many universities in Spain and even had files with copies of the signatures of numerous university deans and officials, according to the Policia Nacional in Madrid.
The investigation, which is still running, started a year ago when an alert was flagged about false university degrees being marketed.
Officers found websites offering falsified degrees but most of them were scammers looking for a fee and purchasers got nothing in return.
The probe though did find an organisation that did fulfil orders and delivered to its clients a variety of degrees from different Spanish universities.
Police said the gang was sophisticated and payments were done via different money transfer platforms with degrees sent by an international courier company or available as an approved digital certificate.
In many cases, customers were students who dropped out of courses and wanted to have something to show for their efforts.
The Policia Nacional said the Dominican Republic operation started in 2019 and has increased their activities since last year.