A conman who sold fake certificates for qualifications online and illegally used Ofqual’s and exam boards’ branding to make them seem more likely to be genuine was sentenced to 80 hours unpaid work.
Martin Bowman of Collingwood Mews, Gosforth, was sentenced on January 14 to 80 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay costs of £567.97, including a £60 victims’ surcharge, after admitting two counts of selling goods with a sign which was likely to be mistaken for a registered trademark.
Ofqual launched an investigation after discovering the website. It monitored conversations online and purchased a number of certificates.
It also discovered the address linked to the website and referred the matter to Trading Standards officers at Darlington Borough Council.
All the exam boards involved were contacted so that they could take necessary action.
Michelle Meadows, executive director for strategy, risk & research at Ofqual said fake certificates for qualifications “will not be tolerated”.
She added: “We have ensured that the website no longer provides these. We want people to feel secure in the knowledge that a qualification accredited by Ofqual is valid. People who are found to be selling fake certificates for qualifications or using the Ofqual logo illegally will face legal action.”
Chris McEwan, Darlington Council’s cabinet member for economy and regeneration said he commended Trading Standards for bringing “this important case” to court.
He added: “The jobs market is tough and it may be tempting to make false claims but anyone using a fake qualification certificate to get a job will be found out and ruin their employment chances.”
Anyone wanting to report the sale of fake qualification certificates can contact Ofqual directly on 0300 303 3344.