Three nursing schools closed in Florida because they sold fake RN diplomas

25 people from Florida, New York, New Jersey and Texas are charged with wire fraud and the illegal sale of nursing diplomas. This is mentioned on US Department of Justice website

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The defendants set up a scheme to issue fake diplomas and certificates of medical education obtained from accredited nursing schools in Florida. They sold them to individuals seeking licenses and employment as a Registered Nurse (RN) and Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN/VN).

Fake diplomas and records allowed buyers to take the National Council of Nursing exam and, upon passing it, obtain licenses and jobs in various states as RNs and LPN/VNs. 

The overall scheme involved distributing more than 7600 fake diplomas issued by three nursing schools in South Florida: Siena College in Broward County, Palm Beach School in Palm Beach County, and Sacred Heart International Institute in Broward County. These schools are now closed.

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Each defendant faces up to 20 years in prison.

“This is not only a public safety issue, but also a tarnished reputation for nurses who actually do the complex work required to obtain their professional licenses and employment,” said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Marchenzie Lapointe. “This kind of fraud scheme undermines public confidence in our healthcare system.”

Siena college

The indictment found defendants Stanton Witherspoon, Alfred Sellu and René Bernadel of Westchester County guilty of conspiring to commit fraud.

Witherspoon, Sella, and Bernadel recruited individuals who wanted nursing degrees to get jobs as RNs or LPN/VNs. These false documents showed that applicants for RN and LPN/VN degrees attended the college nursing program and completed the necessary courses and clinical practice for RN or LPN/VN degrees, when in fact they did not qualify. 

The filing against Eugene Sanon, who ran the college, alleges that he sold thousands of fake diplomas and certificates of education to nursing candidates who used them to obtain RN or LPN/VN licenses in various states.

Palm Beach School

Gale Russ, Sheryl Stanley, Crystal Lopez, Ricky Riley, Norberto Lopez, Damian Lopez, François Leganiere, Reynoso Seyde, Cassandra Jean, Yelva Saint Prox, Evangeline Naissan, Roni Michel, Wheeler Duroso, Ivrose Termitus are charged with conspiracy to commit fraud.

These defendants are alleged to have arranged with Palm Beach Nursing School owner Johana Napoleon and school employees Gail Russ, Cheryl Stanley, Crystal Lopez, and Ricky Riley to create and distribute false and fraudulent diplomas and records.

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Napoleon had previously been indicted and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health and wire fraud. 

Sacred Heart International Institute

Ludny Jean, Serge Jean, Simon Itaman, Anna Itaman, Romy Louis and Nadège Auguste are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The scammers arranged with Charles Etienne, the owner of Sacred Heart, to create and distribute false diplomas indicating that candidates attended Sacred Heart and completed the necessary courses to receive LPN/VN diplomas. In fact, aspiring nurses never completed the required courses and clinical trials. Etienne is charged with conspiracy to commit fraud.

Nurse candidates used fake diplomas and transcripts they bought from Sacred Heart to obtain LPN/VN licenses in various states and nursing jobs.

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