Massive crackdown on fraudulent nursing diploma scheme with over 7,600 fake certificates sold.
The joint federal law enforcement operation, led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), the FBI, and the Justice Department, has successfully taken down a massive, coordinated scheme to sell false and fraudulent nursing degree credentials. The operation, named "Operation Nightingale" in honor of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, spanned across five states: Florida, New York, New Jersey, Texas, and Delaware. As a result of the operation, more than two dozen criminal wire fraud and wire fraud conspiracy charges have been filed against 25 individuals.
According to officials, the scheme involved peddling more than $100 million worth of bogus nursing diplomas and transcripts over the course of several years. These fake credentials were sold to help "thousands of people" take "shortcuts" toward becoming licensed, practicing nurses. The forged diplomas and transcripts were sold from what had been accredited schools to aspiring nurses, in order to help candidates bypass the qualifying requirements necessary to sit for the national nursing board exam. Although they still had to take the exam, the bogus credentials allowed them to skip vital steps of the competency and licensure process, officials said -- and once licensed, those individuals were able to find a job in the health care field.
The defendants in the alleged scheme include "owners, operators and employees" of the schools who "prepared and sold fake nursing school diplomas and transcripts to nursing candidates, knowing that the candidates would use those false documents to sit for nursing board examinations.
News Source: ABC NEWS
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