On Wednesday (Jan. 25), the Department of Justice announced that 25 individuals in South Florida have been charged for allegedly selling fake nursing degrees to thousands of students across the U.S.
"Defendants engaged in a scheme to sell fraudulent nursing degree diplomas and transcripts obtained from accredited Florida-based nursing schools to individuals seeking licenses and jobs as registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical/vocational nurses (LPN/VNs)," the DOJ said in a press release.
Over 7,600 fake nursing diplomas were distributed and each student was charged between $10,000 for a licensed practical nurse degree and $17,000 for a registered nurse diploma — without requiring proper training. According to the press release, each defendant could face up to 20 years in prison.
The three schools involved with the alleged scam are Siena College of Health in Lauderhill, Palm Beach School of Nursing in West Palm Beach, and Sacred Heart International Institute in Fort Lauderdale.They're all currently closed.
“Our healthcare professionals play an important role in our public health system,” U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe said at a press conference yesterday. “We therefore expect our healthcare professionals to be who they claim they are. Specifically, when we talk about a nurse’s education and credentials, shortcut is not a word we want to use."