Florida candidate accused of faking diploma gets probation

Published:

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — A former Republican candidate for the Florida Legislature will avoid prosecution for falsely claiming she had a college degree if she serves 90 days of probation and completes 25 hours of community service.

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports that Melissa Howard signed a deferred prosecution agreement Friday. The agreement means Howard won't be formally charged with a crime. She had faced a misdemeanor count of misrepresenting her academic standing at a university.

In the weeks before last month's primary election, Howard posted a photo of herself with what looked like a Miami University diploma. The Ohio school later sent reporters a statement saying she attended the school but never graduated.

Howard eventually admitted she didn't graduate from the school and dropped out of the race.