MIAMI (AP) — Federal authorities in Florida have charged 25 individuals with collaborating in a wire fraud scheme that designed an unlawful shortcut for aspiring nurses to get accredited and find work.
A short while ago unsealed federal grand jury indictments allege the defendants took part in a scam that marketed more than 7,600 fraudulent nursing degree diplomas from 3 Florida-primarily based nursing schools, federal officials reported in the course of a information meeting in Miami on Wednesday afternoon. Prosecutors said the plan also concerned transcripts from the nursing faculties for people looking for licenses and positions as registered nurses and accredited useful/vocational nurses. The defendants each individual encounter up to 20 several years in prison.
“Not only is this a community safety issue, it also tarnishes the standing of nurses who in fact entire the demanding clinical and class work expected to get hold of their specialist licenses and work,” explained U.S. Lawyer for the Southern District of Florida Markenzy Lapointe.
Lapointe added that “a fraud plan like this erodes public have faith in in our health and fitness care process.”
The faux diplomas and transcripts capable individuals who acquired them to sit for the national nursing board examination. If they handed, they were able to get hold of licenses and positions in different states, prosecutors said.
The educational facilities involved — Siena Higher education, Palm Seaside University of Nursing and Sacred Coronary heart International Institute — are now shut.
Some of those who bought degrees were from South Florida’s Haitian-American neighborhood, such as some with respectable LPN licenses who required to grow to be registered nurses, the Miami Herald described.
“Health care fraud is nothing new to South Florida, as numerous scammers see this as a way to receive effortless, however unlawful, dollars,“ performing Particular Agent in Cost Chad Yarbrough claimed Wednesday.
He reported it is specially disturbing that far more than 7,600 people around the place attained fake qualifications and were being perhaps in significant health and fitness treatment roles dealing with sufferers.
The promoting and obtaining of nursing diplomas and transcripts to “willing but unqualified individuals” is a crime that “potentially endangers the overall health and safety of patients and insults the honorable profession of nursing,” claimed Exclusive Agent in Charge Omar Pérez Aybar. Pérez stated investigators have not uncovered, even so, that any of the nurses brought on hurt to clients.
The college students paid out a full of $114 million for the fake degrees involving 2016 and 2021, the newspaper noted. About 2,400 of the 7,600 college students inevitably passed their licensing exams — predominantly in New York, federal officials reported. Nurses certified in New York are allowed to observe in Florida and numerous other states.
Numerous of all those persons may possibly shed their certification but likely will not be criminally billed, federal officers said.