In January, the U.S. Attorney’s Office – Southern District of Florida announced its office had charged 25 people for their alleged participation in a wire fraud scheme that involved selling fake nursing school transcripts and diplomas from three Florida nursing schools to aspiring nurses who had not completed the required coursework needed to graduate or required testing. Defendants were arrested in Delaware, Florida, New Jersey, New York, and Texas.
The Alleged Scheme
According to the announcement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, those involved allegedly sold more than 7,600 fraudulent diplomas and transcripts from the now-closed Florida nursing schools. Aspiring nurses allegedly pay $10,000 and up for fake diplomas and transcripts. These fake documents gave then allowed them to sign up for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). Those who passed the test were able to obtain their nursing license as RNs and LPN/VNs, and then used all of these documents to gain employment with unsuspecting healthcare providers throughout the country.
A Florida state audit found that the NCLEX passing rates from the three Florida nursing schools were low, raising red flags and trigging the federal investigation – dubbed Operation Nightingale.
A month after the indictments were announced, the Florida Commission for Independent Education called an emergency meeting after it was discovered that there were seven more nursing schools in Florida that were connected to the alleged scheme. The schools were ordered to stop all enrollment and graduation activities. Four of the schools have voluntarily ceased operations while conducting internal audits.
The 25 people who have been charged face up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted.
Contact a Cook County Professional License Defense Lawyer
Given the serious allegations in this case – that people who did not actually graduate from nursing school with the necessary and required education and training – it is likely that there will be extensive investigations to determine how many people who purchased allegedly fake diplomas and transcripts in order to obtain a fraudulent nursing license are currently working as nurses. Not only could these people lose their licenses, but there could even be criminal charges involved. Any nurses who are concerned about the legitimacy of their nursing license should contact a Chicago nursing license defense attorney right away. Call Williams & Nickl, LLC at [312-335-9470 to schedule a free and confidential consultation and find out what legal options you may have.