No fewer than 43 Nigerian nurses in the United States are currently facing criminal charges over certificate forgery. This figure is among the 75 persons being probed by the Texas Board of Nursing for false educational credentials.
According to information on the Board’s website about the probe, tagged ‘Operation Nightingale’, the individuals who acquired the fraudulent nursing credentials used them to qualify to sit for the national nursing board exam.
On successful completion of the board exam, the nursing applicants reportedly became eligible to obtain licensure in various states to work as registered nurses or Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurse, LPN/VN.
The Board said it had filed ‘formal charges’ against the nurses for fraudulently obtaining educational credentials.
“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,” it added.
A statement on the website disclosed that on January 25, 2023, the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) and law enforcement partners launched a multi-state coordinated law enforcement action to apprehend individuals engaged in a scheme to sell false and fraudulent nursing degree diplomas and transcripts.
“The alleged scheme involved the selling of fake and fraudulent nursing degrees, diplomas and transcripts obtained from accredited Florida-based nursing schools to Registered Nurses (RN) and Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurse (LPN/VN) candidates,” it said.
The Board said it was working diligently with all appropriate nursing regulatory bodies, nursing education programme providers, accreditation bodies and authorities to detect, investigate and resolve these matters as quickly as possible, including seeking revocation of any licensure obtained through fraudulent means.
“This list will be updated continuously as the Board receives additional information about the fraudulent diploma/transcript scheme,” the statement added.