Melissa Howard – a Republican Party candidate for the Florida House of Representatives was incensed when a news outlet claimed that she did not hold the degree she claimed on her candidate biography. Howard’s campaign maintained that the story was nothing more than an attempt to ‘hurt Melissa or her reputation within the community’ orchestrated by her opponent in the primary.
So incensed was Howard that she flew to Ohio to pose with photographs of her degree certificate from Miami University and posted them on Twitter and Facebook.
Unfortunately, along with her friends and supporters, officials from Miami University were also looking at the photographs, and in particular at the diploma, which appeared to have some inaccuracies.
- The university didn’t run that course at the time she attended.
- The signatory for the course was wrong on the diploma.
- She attended, but wasn’t on the course she claimed.
- She didn’t complete that course either.
It appears that having been caught out in a lie about her qualifications*, Howard chose to compound it with a fake certificate, which she flaunted on social media.
Her campaign claims this is ‘Fake News’.
We agree – quite literally.
*Things could get worse for Howard. Under Florida law this is a criminal offence.
Florida statute 817.566 states, “Any person who, with intent to defraud, misrepresents his or her association with, or academic standing or other progress at, any postsecondary educational institution by falsely making, altering, simulating, or forging a document, degree, certificate, diploma, award, record, letter, transcript, form, or other paper; or any person who causes or procures such a misrepresentation; or any person who utters and publishes or otherwise represents such a document, degree, certificate, diploma, award, record, letter, transcript, form, or other paper as true, knowing it to be false, is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree.”