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GOP candidate Melissa Howard admits her degree is fake; Who is she and how did this controversy start?

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Update: Florida House Candidate Melissa Howard admits diploma is fake
Melissa Howard
Posted at 11:34 AM, Aug 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-14 08:30:25-04

SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - Melissa Howard - by now you've heard the name and know that *something* happened, but you may not know all the details. So we're going to break it down for you.

First - who is she? Melissa Howard is Republican businesswoman running in the Aug. 28 primary for the District 73 seat, which covers Sarasota and Manatee counties, on the Florida Legislature.

The controversy started with a story from FLA News Online when the outlet reported the National Student Clearinghouse "certified that Howard didn't have a degree as she claimed on her campaign website."

Howard called FLA News Online's story "a lie" then posted pictures on social media, including one of her purported transcript and another of her on a couch sitting next to her purported degree in a frame.

Last Friday, Miami University confirmed that Howard never graduated from the university and said the diploma was inconsistent with a real one.

Howard responded, calling the story "fake news," deleting the social media posts of the purported degree, and saying she would not be responding to media requests for comments because she said her husband had a "cardiac event."

On Sunday, Howard responded, saying her degree was, in fact, fake and she apologized.

"I would like to apologize to my family and my supporters for this situation. It was not my intent to deceive or mislead anyone. I made a mistake in saying that I completed my degree. What I did was wrong and set a bad example for someone seeking public service. I am staying in the race and intend to win and lead by example from now on." - Melissa Howard

But the story isn't over. Howard is staying in the race and she could face charges under Florida statute 817.566, which states: "Any person, with intent to defraud, misrepresents his or her association with, or academic standing or progress at, any post-secondary educational institution by falsely making, altering, simulating, or forging" a degree is guilty of a first degree misdemeanor.

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