In Florida, federal authorities ordered the closure of three nursing schools for a multi-million dollar scam. The schools sold thousands of fake diplomas for more than $100 million dollars.
So far, 21 people have been arrested, while a total of 25 are accused of massive document fraud. This was announced by U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Markenzy Lapointe, accompanied by representatives from the FBI Miami and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.
The defendants reside in the states of Florida, New York, New Jersey, Texas and Delaware.
The acts occurred at Sacred Heart International Institute in Fort Lauderdale, Siena College of Health in Lauderhill, and Palm Beach School of Nursing in West Palm Beach. These schools sold 7,600 nursing diplomas and transcripts, all fake.
A press release from the South Florida U.S. Attorney's Office states that each fake document was sold for around $15,000.
New health care scam for more than $100 million
Operators and employees of the three South Florida nursing schools are facing charges for wire fraud crimes, including conspiracy. Also being prosecuted are individuals who sought out out-of-state students to sell them the fake documents.
The main defendants could face sentences of up to 20 years in prison, according to U.S. law.
Of great concern is that thousands of so-called nurses who fraudulently obtained the diplomas are currently practicing.
"The last thing we want to know is that nurses who administer medications, those charged with carrying out a physician's orders, took shortcuts in their clinical training and used fake nursing diplomas to get their licenses and jobs. Unfortunately, thousands of people have taken these shortcuts," Lapointe said.
The nation's nursing boards have been warned of the scam revealed in Florida.
Comments / 12