Following high-end investigations, the Texas Board of Nursing, United States, has announced that it has charged no fewer than 75 nurses to court over issues bordering on falsification of certificates.
On the list posted on the website of the board, 43 of the names were identified as nurses of Nigerian origin.
The PUNCH had in February reported that 18 Nigerian nurses in the US were charged with certificate forgery.
The US authorities had said that list would be updated continuously as the board received additional information about “the fraudulent diploma/transcript scheme.”
Checks by our correspondent revealed that the list had grown longer with the number of Nigerian rising from the previous 18 to 43.
The investigation tagged, ‘Operation Nightingale,’ was described as a multi-state coordinated law enforcement action involving the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, and was launched on January 25, 2023, to arrest individuals engaged in a scheme to sell false and fraudulent nursing degree diplomas and transcripts.
Commenting on the matter, the board said, “The board has filed formal charges against the following nurses for fraudulently obtaining educational credentials. The board is authorized to file formal charges against a nurse if probable cause exists that the nurse has committed an act listed in Tex. Occ. Code §301.452(b) or that violates other laws. See Tex. Occ. Code §301.458. Further, formal charges are publicly available. See Tex. Occ. Code §301.466(b).
“Please note that formal charges are not a final disciplinary action, and a nurse is permitted to work, as a nurse, while formal charges are pending.
The PUNCH reports that the Texas Board of Nursing had charged the health workers at the District Court for the Southern District of Florida, saying the nurses allegedly participated in a wire fraud scheme that created an illegal licensing and employment shortcut for aspiring nurses.
According to the charge documents, the scheme fraudulently sells nursing degree diplomas and transcripts obtained from accredited Florida-based nursing schools to individuals seeking licenses and jobs as registered nurses and licensed practical/vocational nurses.
A special agent in charge of the investigations, Omar Aybar, said the alleged selling and purchasing of nursing diplomas and transcripts to willing but unqualified individuals is a crime that potentially endangers the health and safety of patients and insults the honourable profession of nursing.
The overall scheme involved the distribution of more than 7,600 fake nursing diplomas issued by three South Florida-based nursing schools: Siena College in Broward County, Fl; Palm Beach School of Nursing in Palm Beach County, Fl; Sacred Heart International Institute in Broward County.