Police in suburban Saanich, British Columbia are investigating a local man who stands accused of using fake credentials, including a PhD from U of T. Police grew suspicious after Jason Matthew Walker submitted a five-page resume for a position as an expert witness in court.
Walkers resume included several credentials, including a Bachelor in psychology from McMaster, a Masters of social work from U of T, a PhD in forensic child abuse assessment from Smith College, U of T, a diploma of behavioural studies from Yale University and a PhD in medical studies from the University of Calgary. Police became alarmed by the short period in which the 31 year-old had received so many academic achievements. According to his resume, Walker had completed all the aforementioned degrees and diplomas within six years of each other.
Saanich police began the investigation by contacting his past employers. Walkers resume stated that he had worked as a deputy regional coroner in Victoria for a year; however, the coroners service revealed that Walker had only been employed there for 60 days.
Investigators sent out copies of the resume to the derived institutions to be verified. The University of Calgary and Yale University responded that the stated programs do not exist. And while Walker does have a U of T Masters degree in social work, U of T spokeswoman Laurie Stephens announced that he does not have a PhD, nor does the University have an affiliation with Smith College.
With these false credentials and documents, Walker was able to land a job with Victoria Health Authority. He also lectured at the University of Victoria in British Columbia and opened his own practice. The title on his door read Dr. James Walker.
After months of investigation, police were able to obtain a warrant and searched Walkers office. They confiscated diplomas, credit cards and memberships that Walker held for various associations. Walker was arrested and is scheduled to appear in court on January 21.
A little over a year ago, the University of Toronto began increasing the security features on diplomas to better protect against fraud. Along with watermark paper, U of T also places a hologram on the certificate. Furthermore, it is possible to look up the authenticity of degrees online with the recipients name and either their date of birth, social insurance number or student number.