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Con your way into a fake doctorate for just $2,000?

By johnboy - 3 November 2009 18

[First filed Jul 18, 2009]
The Canberra Times has a curious story on one Daniel Besser, going by the name of “Dr Daniel Ben-Avraham” at the ANU who was running an international joint research project despite, according to the article, not actually having scientific qualifications:

    He had convinced them he had a doctorate in physics, and in the process duped the university out of more than $2000. The ANU and Mr Besser’s international colleagues only recently found out he held no scientific qualifications.

    Mr Besser is accused of having operated similar scams all over the world, convincing investors, acquaintances and colleagues to pour thousands of dollars into projects on the promise they would reimbursed when non-existent grants came in.

It seems like a lot of work for just $2,000. It might be easier to just get a second job?

[Ed] This comment was just put in by Melody (the girlfriend) and I thought it deserved a wider audience.
melody
I AM that girlfriend and must say that the entire experience almost destroyed me.For months I had my doubts about his background but as he was recieving constant correspondence and phone calls from academics around the world, I assumed that my doubts were unfounded. I also assumed that his contact at the ANU would have verified his credentials. What I found difficult to understand was why even his so-called undergraduate history was not verified as I would have thought that even if his post-doc work was classified, his bachelors degree was accessible.

I was the person who alerted the ANU to Daniel Bessers scam and what I found most annoying was the fact that the academics at RegNet were under the assumption that the “worthwhile” work that he put forward was his own. Quite the contrary. Daniel had no scientific background but I do and was responsible for most of the research that went into this project and have all of the documantation to prove it. Contacts, research projects, feasability and calculations for grant proposals and checking all costs associated with getting the project off the ground were all my work so to give Daniel credit for outstanding work is a travesty. Daniel was the mouth only. He had no understanding of atomic theory, basic bilogical systems nor chemistry so after working at a full time job in medical science I came home to another full time job working on the project.

My experience with Daniel Besser and the ANU has not been a complete loss as I am in the process of writing a book and my resources for information are growing rapidly. Not only will it be about this project but will include other scams that he has run over a period of many years. It is a shame that the ANU chose not to press charges (egg-on-face perhaps?) as it may have brought him to justice and perhaps prevented him from destroying the lives of many others that I am certain he will victimize in the future.

Melody Abbott

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18 Responses to
Con your way into a fake doctorate for just $2,000?
Thumper 5:43 pm 04 Nov 09
Thumper 5:38 pm 04 Nov 09

AHh yes.

Montgomery, James Alwyn. 2243096. Born 14 July 1941. aka Dr. or Prof. Montgomery.

Fat bald bearded 60 odd year old guy. Claims to have been a 5th Special Forces Group Captain attached to the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam, or an AATTV Captain attached to the 5th SFG? He’s not sure which one he should be posing as.

Was he either?

No, nor was he a US Marine, a US Navy SEAL, a SAS Captain or Major, a Commando, a RAN Reserve Captain or a recipient of the Victoria Cross and lesser awards, all things he claims.

This guy is a total fraud. It appears that he never ever laced a boot, let alone served.

Pity about the name though 😉

Trunking symbols 5:35 pm 04 Nov 09

A Noisy Noise Annoys An Oyster said :

This all sounds like something out of the University of East Bumcrack mentioned by Annabelle Crabbe on the ABC’s Insiders last Sunday.

Annabel Crabb.

Woody Mann-Caruso 4:02 pm 04 Nov 09
Thoroughly Smashed 3:24 pm 04 Nov 09

Thumper said :

Reminds me of this;

http://www.anzmi.net/cases.html

Libelicious!

Thumper 1:26 pm 04 Nov 09

Reminds me of this;

http://www.anzmi.net/cases.html

OzChick 11:49 am 04 Nov 09
Gungahlin Al 11:14 am 04 Nov 09

Sounds like there are plots aplenty to follow up the “Teachers” series with “Professors”.
Or at least one episode of Big Bang Theory…

A Noisy Noise Annoys 7:30 am 04 Nov 09

This all sounds like something out of the University of East Bumcrack mentioned by Annabelle Crabbe on the ABC’s Insiders last Sunday.

melody 10:25 pm 03 Nov 09

I AM that girlfriend and must say that the entire experience almost destroyed me.For months I had my doubts about his background but as he was recieving constant correspondence and phone calls from academics around the world, I assumed that my doubts were unfounded. I also assumed that his contact at the ANU would have verified his credentials. What I found difficult to understand was why even his so-called undergraduate history was not verified as I would have thought that even if his post-doc work was classified, his bachelors degree was accessible.

I was the person who alerted the ANU to Daniel Bessers scam and what I found most annoying was the fact that the academics at RegNet were under the assumption that the “worthwhile” work that he put forward was his own. Quite the contrary. Daniel had no scientific background but I do and was responsible for most of the research that went into this project and have all of the documantation to prove it. Contacts, research projects, feasability and calculations for grant proposals and checking all costs associated with getting the project off the ground were all my work so to give Daniel credit for outstanding work is a travesty. Daniel was the mouth only. He had no understanding of atomic theory, basic bilogical systems nor chemistry so after working at a full time job in medical science I came home to another full time job working on the project.

My experience with Daniel Besser and the ANU has not been a complete loss as I am in the process of writing a book and my resources for information are growing rapidly. Not only will it be about this project but will include other scams that he has run over a period of many years. It is a shame that the ANU chose not to press charges (egg-on-face perhaps?) as it may have brought him to justice and perhaps prevented him from destroying the lives of many others that I am certain he will victimize in the future.

Melody Abbott

The cat did it 12:12 am 19 Jul 09

According to the Canberra Times, he conned several others, including conning his girlfriend out of $40,000. Charming.

MWest 12:01 am 19 Jul 09

Oops.. I meant to say I work in the Physics Research School and hadn’t seen this guy around.

MWest 12:00 am 19 Jul 09

I work in one of the Research Schools and hadn’t seen this guy around.

A quick Google search reveals that he duped people in the ‘Regulatory Institutions Network (RegNet)’ so obviously wasn’t claiming to have a physics PhD amongst physicists. From RegNet’s website…

‘RegNet is a large research group within the College of Asia and Pacific. It is also a network of institutions, practitioners and academics involved in exploring and understanding critical domains of regulation. Members of the network differ in their approaches to regulation but their work is interconnected. The key motivation driving RegNet is to advance current understanding and approaches to issues such as human security, policing, environment, cyber crime, illicit organisations and markets, intellectual property and the governance of knowledge, development, peacebuilding, human rights, international law, micro foundations of democratic governance, health and occupational health and safety through a regulatory framework that develops evidence-based theory, policy and practice.’

housebound 9:14 pm 18 Jul 09

This character must have been some real genius to be able to con physics academics. He came up with a proposal that the conned will still follow up, without the conman himself, based purely on the merit of the idea. That takes some doing – and quite a bit of reading to recognise a new idea as worthy.

ace666 6:22 pm 18 Jul 09

How did they seperate one con artist from the multitude in residence at the ANU?

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