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Florida Candidate Admits To Posting Inaccurate Diploma, Lying About Degree

(CNN) -- A Florida state house candidate admitted to posting an inaccurate diploma from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, through an apology on Facebook Monday. The post was later taken down.

"I would like to apologize to my family and my supporters for this situation," said the Facebook post by Melissa Howard, a Republican running for Florida House of Representatives District 73.

"It was not my intent to deceive or mislead anyone. I made a mistake in saying that I completed my degree," the post read. "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."

RELATED: University Says A Florida House Candidate Who Claims To Be An Alumni Never Graduated

Howard's post was later taken down and her campaign website is no longer running.

Florida state house candidate's degree in question
Melissa Howard, a Republican who is running for the Florida House of Representatives District 73, claims to have graduated from Miami University, in Oxford, Ohio. That fact is now being called into question.

Last week, FLA News reported that Howard, 46, did not have a degree from Miami University as she said she did in her candidate bio. The story was later briefly rescinded after Howard's campaign responded to the story in a statement and Howard posted a partial college transcript, as well as pictures of her posing with a framed diploma on her Facebook page.

The images were no longer available on Sunday.

Miami University told CNN and other news outlets it has no record of Howard earning a degree there. The school said that Melissa Marie Fox (Howard's maiden name) had attended Miami University from August 1990 to May 1994, but she never graduated.

The university pointed out a few critical flaws on the image of the diploma that Howard briefly posted on social media.

The document in the image showed that she received a Bachelor of Science in Marketing degree, but the university said it has no such record of a degree. School officials said the university's degree for marketing majors, both then and now, is called a Bachelor of Science in Business.

Also, Howard's major while she was enrolled at Miami University had been retailing, and the degree for that program would have been a Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences, according to the university.

The picture of the diploma included the signatures of James Garland, who was the president of the university in 1996, and of Robert C. Johnson, who was actually the dean of the graduate school, which would not have been the proper school, the university statement said.

The university counsel said in a statement to CNN that the document in the photo "does not appear to be an accurate Miami University diploma."

CNN reached out to Howard, but has not heard back.

Howard's campaign consultant, Anthony Pedicini, told the Washington Post that Howard's husband had been hospitalized Friday night after suffering cardiac arrest. She is "focused on him right now," he said, and not on "fake news."

In her website bio, Howard said she was the first in her family to attend college and that "she waited tables at Ponderosa and saved enough from summer jobs to complete her education. Upon graduation she worked for large (Marriott and Microsoft) and small companies before launching her own marketing business that today serves clients throughout the world."

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