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Former state House candidate Melissa Howard gets 25 hours of community service over fake degree

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MANATEE COUNTY, FL (WWSB) - Former state House candidate Melissa Howard is facing consequences for her fake degree from Miami University, Ohio.

On Friday, Howard signed a deferred prosecution agreement for 'intention to deceive.' As part of the agreement, Howard will have to perform 25 hours of community service and be on probation for 90 days.

The Lakewood Ranch resident lied about having a degree from Miami University of Ohio while running for the District 73 State House seat this year.

"A deferred prosecution agreement is available for first time offenders," said Brodsky. "Miss Howard has no prior criminal history, which makes her eligible for this program."

Her probation will end in the middle of December. Other parts of the agreement include not getting in any trouble while on probation, not drinking alcohol to excess or using drugs, and paying $165 to the Manatee County Courthouse for the cost of being supervised, as well as a $50 processing fee.

If she doesn't abide by all those stipulations then she would face a First Degree Misdemeanor for Misrepresentation of Academic Standing at a Post Secondary Educational Institution.

The Manatee County Sheriff's Office concluded Howard  "intended to defraud when she touted a fake diploma from Miami University of Ohio."

"We agree with their findings and that's why we're moving forward with our charges. We're moving forward with our case and that's why she's being offered this agreement," said Brodsky.

Howard ended up dropping out of the race. We did call and text her for a comment, but we never heard back from her.

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