FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 8, 2006
Updated September 29, 2006
Perjury to prove a point?
Almeda University provides quality education for working professionals through well-respected Life Experience degree programs recognized by the vast majority of private companies. Its innovative methods and student successes often make it a target of smear campaigns from others with a deliberate agenda. In a 2004 scam an individual named Peter Brancato applied to Almeda University by completing an application with information and credentials that led to his being awarded an associate level degree from Almeda University. Mr. Brancato later reported it was his dog that was awarded the degree and not him. What Mr. Brancato did not report was that the information on his application was completely fabricated with misleading facts and falsified qualifications. By creating a fictitious application with the sole purpose of trying to discredit Almeda and then certifying that he is at least 18 years of age and all information submitted on the application was " true and correct ", Mr. Brancato committed perjury.
Almeda's many positive testimonials from graduates and a successful placement rate with reputable companies is strong indication of solid academic character, and Brancato's motives are evidenced by his dishonest actions. Creating a false identity, including a fabricated legal name and date of birth, he completed an application that included a background of the following: Eight-years tutoring pre-K children, curriculum design and development, teaching coping skills, and volunteer coaching. Clearly, this was a series of intentional lies to establish a believable identity, not a true account of his “dog's” credentials. He has proudly written of his deception, which provides proof that Almeda did not in fact confer a degree to a dog but rather to the persona carefully created by Brancato to manipulate the previous system. Taken together the background he presented would certainly qualify a person for an Associate's degree in an appropriate field. Just as every job application requires the candidate to provide a signature attesting that all information contained in it is accurate, Almeda entrusted that all applicants would follow legal procedures and offer authentic and accurate information. However, unscrupulous people will always present lies despite ethical and legal consequences. After Brancato's breach of law, Almeda instituted a positive identification system in 2005 to prevent such abuse in the future. This I.D. system requires any payment, other than that with a credit card issued in the name of the student, be accompanied by copy of a government issued photo identification such as a driver license or passport.
Although it is preposterous to believe the accusation that Almeda would grant a degree to a person with the same skills as a dog, this doesn't prevent attention-seekers from breaking laws and filling the web with inaccurate blogs to create this perception. Brancato provided a fake electronic signature, which testified that all information provided within his application was accurate, when in fact none of it was true. How can a person who has engaged in such deception be regarded with any credibility? Unfortunately, in today's technological world it is easy to transmit false descriptions and accounts for nearly any organization instantly to a worldwide audience. Widespread dissemination of such erroneous or exaggerated stories perpetuates a false reality when an audience takes content as fact. Now more than ever before it is crucial to evaluate the credibility of a source before any judgment is made on subject matter.
Almeda will continue to offer practical education that is demanded by today's students and employers, and will vigorously defend itself from unjust attacks and smear campaigns designed by groups whose uncertain existence is threatened by Almeda's success.