Tuesday, 12 June 2012

In comes a silly threat

In comes an email from a company calling itself "Joyce & Nielsen" who claim to be acting for "Headway University", a non-accredited "university" that sells fake degrees to anyone with a credit card.

This is what it said. The "exhibits" they provide are quotes from this blog and also, for some unknown reason, bits of other people's web sites that are nothing to do with us (Exhibits 3, 3a, 3b).

Prepare to quake and quiver in fear.
"June 7, 2012

Consumer Watchdog BW
watchdog@bes.bw
Botswana
Phone: +267 3904582
Personal and Confidential
Subject: Defamatory Content

To Whom It May Concern,

We represent Headway University, a reputable online educational services provider that provides educational services to individuals from all over the country and across the globe.

It has recently come to our knowledge that certain individuals and/or organizations (“Offenders”) are utilizing your well reputed blog to spread defamatory, harmful and malicious content in violation of state, federal and international law (“Defamatory Content”)(Enclosed here in as Exhibit 1); with the intent to harm, defame and cause financial damages to our client, Headway University. Furthermore, Offenders have linked our client with other operators and have tried to establish a false connection between the two. (Exhibit 2)

We understand your nature of work and we appreciate your efforts to secure consumer rights but others are openly misusing your blog to defame and harm our client, Headway University (Exhibit 2). It does not only effect the institution but also the students & alumni of our client, Headway University. It is harassing a number of individuals emotionally, leading to physical harm caused by baseless facts shared on your blog. Additionally we found our client’s logo on your blog which is a violation of “Digital Millennium Copyright Act” (Exhibit 2a).

In addition, Offenders have also shown interest in commercially using defamation material and earn by blackmailing (Exhibit 3, 3a, 3b) various other clients including our client, Headway University. This information has been shared to make you aware of Cyber Blackmailing pointed towards our client, Headway University, of which you are now a part of. The unverified facts shared in comments under this post show your consent in illegal defamation of our client.

In this case, the offenders are utilizing your blog and repute to blackmail various clients including our client, Headway University.

The defamatory content has already caused some serious financial damages to our client and it will continue to do so if no action is taken. Considering the damage and a very possible threat of this content leading to further criminal activities such as extortion, blackmailing, and cyber bullying, our client has instructed us to take whatever legal actions are appropriate to enforce and preserve it rights.

We are writing you at this time to:
i) Formally request that you delete the defamatory content posted on your servers.
ii) Afford you an opportunity to provide an explanation of the concerns raised. (Exhibit 4)

Please contact us within 72 hours of this letter, should you fail to take down the baseless defamatory content within the time specified, we will advise our client to take appropriate legal action.

Sincerely,

Zack Garcia
Managing Partner
Joyce & Nielsen"
Let's begin with a few facts.

Headway "University" sells fake degrees. You don't need to study, sit exams or submit research. All they want is your money before they'll award you one of their "degrees". In fact they appear to be part of an organisation that sells fake degrees from a range of different fake establishments. You can see more at diplomamillscam.com.

This is part of a conversation I had with one of their "advisors" online in November last year that should tell you everything you need to know:
Me: I want to know how quickly I can get a bachelors degree
Ethan Myers: you can get it in about 10 to 12 days
...
Me: does that mean i don't have to study?
Ethan Myers: yes, no studies require if you have relevant working experience
Me: which university awards the degree?
Ethan Myers: Headway University
Me: and how much will this cost?
Ethan Myers: $648
However, what I find MORE interesting is the "law firm" that contacted us, these people calling themselves "Joyce & Nielsen". They claim on their website to provide:
"value by combining professional skill, technology, and a thorough understanding of our clients’ needs to deliver high quality, cost-effective and responsive services"
By a bizarre coincidence the exact same words appear on the web site of Womble Carlyle, a respected law firm in North Carolina. Several other sections of their web page were also identical to other parts of the Womble Carlyle site. Other text was identical to text on the web site of Clifford Chance, a leading law firm in London.

The firm claims to be allied to the "Association of Legal Corporate Counsel", an organisation that appears not really to exist. Their web site names precisely NO attorneys working for them, no names are given of anyone and I can't find any trace of "Zack Garcia", their supposed "Managing Partner". The letter they emailed to us also gave no physical address for this supposedly respectable law firm.

Best of all, they claim:


So why can't I find any trace of them? Why do they not seem to exist? Is it perhaps that they are, in fact, no more genuine than Headway "University"? And "providing full spectrum of services"?

Anyway, "Joyce & Nielsen" can threaten all they like. I maintain that Headway "University" is a fake university. What I've said is true and it's in the public interest that it be published. That means it's not defamation in Botswana law and in the laws of all other civilized countries.

P.S. That bit about their letter being "Personal and Confidential"? That's fine, they can see it that way. I don't. If they wanted it to be kept confidential they should have asked before sending it to me.

2 comments:

Kasey Chang said...

Looks like they also created a fake scholarship site: note the same 866 number

http://www.free-press-release.com/news-scholarships-4-all-launches-its-exclusive-search-service-for-online-scholarships-1328820360.html

Kasey Chang said...

Maybe you can ask them are they in the US, since they are using a US law, "Digital Millenium Copyright Act", to threaten you? :)

If so, which state? So we can REALLY pull their records. :D

Neither the 'lawfirm' nor the 'university' seem to have a physical presence anywhere.