Ex-professor charged with lying about diploma

NORTH SCITUATE, R.I. (AP) - A former University of Rhode Island professor is charged with forging his doctorate diploma to get a consulting deal then lying under oath about his credentials.

State police say retired adjunct professor Frederick Meli misrepresented himself to get hired to examine stone mounds on a North Smithfield property that was slated for development. Meli determined the mounds were part of a Native American burial ground.

Police say the 64-year-old Narragansett man also lied about his diploma when the developer sued. An independent archaeologist determined the mounds were likely built for agrarian use.

Meli was arrested Wednesday on charges including forgery and perjury and released on his own recognizance. A phone listing couldn't immediately be located early Thursday.

A URI spokesman tells the Providence Journal that Meli was paid per course.