D.A. Varela/Miami Herald through AP
MIAMI — Federal authorities in Florida have charged 25 folks with collaborating in a wire fraud scheme that created an unlawful shortcut for aspiring nurses to get licensed and discover employment.
Just lately unsealed federal grand jury indictments allege the defendants took half in a rip-off that bought greater than 7,600 fraudulent nursing diploma diplomas from three Florida-based nursing colleges, federal officers stated throughout a information convention in Miami on Wednesday afternoon. Prosecutors stated the scheme additionally concerned transcripts from the nursing colleges for folks searching for licenses and jobs as registered nurses and licensed sensible/vocational nurses. The defendants every withstand 20 years in jail.
“Not solely is that this a public security concern, it additionally tarnishes the repute of nurses who really full the demanding medical and course work required to acquire their skilled licenses and employment,” stated U.S. Lawyer for the Southern District of Florida Markenzy Lapointe.
Lapointe added that “a fraud scheme like this erodes public belief in our well being care system.”
The faux diplomas and transcripts certified those that bought them to sit down for the nationwide nursing board examination. In the event that they handed, they have been capable of acquire licenses and jobs in numerous states, prosecutors stated.
The faculties concerned — Siena Faculty, Palm Seaside Faculty of Nursing and Sacred Coronary heart Worldwide Institute — at the moment are closed.
A few of those that bought levels have been from South Florida’s Haitian-American neighborhood, together with some with legit LPN licenses who needed to turn out to be registered nurses, the Miami Herald reported.
“Well being care fraud is nothing new to South Florida, as many scammers see this as a strategy to earn simple, although unlawful, cash,” appearing Particular Agent in Cost Chad Yarbrough stated Wednesday.
He stated it is significantly disturbing that greater than 7,600 folks across the nation obtained faux credentials and have been probably in important well being care roles treating sufferers.
The promoting and buying of nursing diplomas and transcripts to “keen however unqualified people” is against the law that “probably endangers the well being and security of sufferers and insults the honorable career of nursing,” stated Particular Agent in Cost Omar Pérez Aybar. Pérez stated investigators haven’t discovered, nonetheless, that any of the nurses brought on hurt to sufferers.
The scholars paid a complete of $114 million for the faux levels between 2016 and 2021, the newspaper reported. About 2,400 of the 7,600 college students finally handed their licensing exams — primarily in New York, federal officers stated. Nurses licensed in New York are allowed to apply in Florida and lots of different states.
Lots of these folks could lose their certification however possible will not be criminally charged, federal officers stated.