Nearly 50 people in New Jersey who studied at Florida-based nursing schools shut down for allegedly selling fake diplomas were ordered to stop practicing as nurses and turn in their license, according to authorities.
In a March 9 press release, Attorney General Matthew Platkin announced the New Jersey Board of Nursing revoked the licenses of 20 nurses, saying that the individuals could have their credentials reinstated – if they can prove they received the “appropriate education and training.” Additionally, the board nullified temporary licenses issued through the Division of Community Affairs’ Temporary Emergency Reciprocity Licensure Program to 26 individuals, Platkin said.
In the meantime, the nurses are not allowed to practice in New Jersey and those who do will be hit with penalties and fines, Platkin said.
New Jersey’s order stems from “Operation Nightingale,” a multistate, federal probe into a scheme at five now-closed Florida universities that gave out 7,600 bogus diplomas nationwide, for which each student had to shell out nearly $15,000. Following the investigation, 26 people were charged in January with wire fraud, according to the U.S. Justice Department.
Platkin said the 46 nurses whose credentials were rescinded “have been flagged in the National Council of State Boards of Nursing nationwide data system,” which allows other state boards to monitor the individuals until their cases are resolved.
“Once a disciplinary action has been taken by one state board of nursing related to diploma fraud, all of the other state boards of nursing will have access to that information in order to prevent additional fraud,” the attorney general said.
New Jersey authorities will continue to partner with other boards of nursing, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and federal law enforcers to help “detect, investigate, and resolve these allegations of diploma and credential fraud,” Platkin added.