Three Beijing-based education companies are under investigation after more than 100 company executives paid nearly 10 million yuan ($1.5 million) only to find out their promised Columbia International Institute degree certificates were worthless, the capital’s Haidian district prosecutors announced. Eight suspects from three education and training companies were arrested on charges of illegal operation in late May, according to Zhou Zhicheng, a Haidian district prosecutor investigating the case. Two suspects surnamed Yu and Hu had founded the Bozhiruida Technology and Education Company in 2008, he said. Without any qualifications the company began to enroll students, mostly corporate executives, promising them business degrees from a private institute headquartered in New York, one of the US’s so-called degree mills, Zhou told the Global Times. The degrees are not recognized by either US or Chinese official educational accrediting bodies, Zhou said.