The bunnies were buzzing when they found out that they could get their degrees by Email rather than slaving in Rabett Labs. Over the weekend a scandal broke in Germany involving lots of faculty at lots of places who took money to take graduate students who went on to become Doktor Ret. Nat. This bites particularly over there because, while in most of the world, we Ph.D.s are entitled to all the rights and privileges belonging to the position, it doesn't even get you to the head of the food stamp line, in Germany there are some goodies.
As with everything in life, there were Doktor coaches who took the money and found the place and persons who would "help" along. The universities include some excellent places: Frankfurt, Tübingen, Leipzig, Rostock, Jena, Bayreuth, Ingolstadt, Hamburg, Hannover, Bielefeld, Hagen, Köln and the Freie Universität Berlin It looks like there were a minimum of 100 "helpers" in the universities, although most appear to be lower level, private dozents and adjunct (no cost) professors, who are allowed to teach courses and act as thesis advisors.
According to the Prosecuting Attourney in Koln those who bought the degrees probably can't be prosecuted, because they most likely would deny bribing the professors, but that doesn't get them out from under. Should it be the case that rules were broken to admit them to the doctoral programs or at the actual oral exams, there are clear sanctions according to the NRW-Education minister Andreas PinkwartOnly buy the best.
According to the law governing universities, the misuse of an academic title can be sanctioned by fines up to a half a million Euros. Any Professors that allow a degree to be awarded for money or even makes it easier, can lose their civil service status (and pension -ER) and their position as university professor; a private dozent can lose their teaching license and position according to Pinkwart.
**There are positions in the US places where bought degrees have value, such as HS teachers where extra degrees bring extra $$ and yes, we have had our scandels.
$$Drawing from Pearls Before Swine, a Rabett Run endorsed addiction