- Several U.S. states, including Texas, New York, and Delaware, have taken action against nurses involved in a South Florida-based scheme to sell fraudulent nursing degree diplomas and transcripts.
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General launched a multi-state action in late January, resulting in search warrants being executed in five states and charges being brought against 25 individuals.
- The Texas Board of Nursing subsequently filed charges against another 29 nurses involved in the scandal.
- The schools involved distributed over 7,600 fake nursing diplomas, generating over $100m, according to the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.
A collection of states including Texas, New York, and Delaware have begun taking action against nurses involved in Operation Nightingale, a South Florida-based scheme to sell fraudulent nursing degree diplomas and transcripts.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General launched a multi-state action in late January to apprehend individuals engaged in a scheme to sell false and fraudulent nursing degree diplomas and transcripts.
The enforcement action resulted in the execution of search warrants in Delaware, New York, New Jersey, Texas, and Florida, and 25 individuals were charged for their involvement in the fraud scheme. Late last month, the Texas Board of Nursing went even further, filing formal charges against another 29 nurses involved in the scandal.
The schools — Siena College of Health, Sacred Heart International Institute, Quisqueya School of Nursing, Med-Life Institute WPB, Quisqueya Health Care Academy, and Palm Beach School of Nursing — distributed more than 7,600 fake nursing diplomas, generating upwards of $100 million, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.
In New York, the Board of Nursing compiled a running account of nurses registered in the state, finding a total of 903 licensed professionals who fraudulently obtained a nursing degree from a South Florida school.
In January, ABC 6 Action News reported that Delaware revoked the nursing licenses of 26 individuals who were found to have participated in the scheme. Just north of Florida, the Georgia Board of Nursing also asked 22 nurses to voluntarily surrender their licenses.
“Not only is this a public safety concern, but it also tarnishes the reputation of nurses who actually complete the demanding clinical and course work required to obtain their professional licenses and employment,” said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Markenzy Lapointe, who added that “a fraud scheme like this erodes public trust in our health care system.”
Notably, the Florida Board of Nursing has yet to release a statement on the scandal or take action against individuals suspected to have participated. Similarly, state Attorney General Ashley Moody has not issued a news release or public comment on the scandal, though her communications team indicated on Thursday that her Medicaid Fraud Control Unit assisted with the investigation.
The Capitolist also reached out to the Executive Office of Gov. Ron DeSantis inquiring about potential planned litigation against the schools identified in the scandal, but did not receive an immediate response.