The Texas Board of Nursing in the United States has revealed that it has charged no fewer than 75 nurses to court over allegations bordering on certificate falsification.
According to the information provided on the website of the board, 43 of those named are of Nigerian descent.
AllNews Nigeria previously reported that 18 Nigerian nurses in the US were to stand trial for fraudulently obtaining educational credentials.
With the addition of the first 25 Nigerian nurses joining the updated 18 on the list, the figure shows that 43 of them are now accused of certificate forgery.
In the new information, the US authorities disclosed that the list would be updated as additional information was received by the board about “the fraudulent diploma/transcript scheme.”
Tagged ‘Operation Nightingale’, the investigation is said to be a multi-state coordinated law enforcement action involving the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.
It was launched on January 25, 2023, to arrest individuals engaged in a scheme to sell false and fraudulent nursing degree diplomas and transcripts.
Speaking on the issue, the board shared: “The board has filed formal charges against the following nurses for fraudulently obtaining educational credentials.
“The board is authorised 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."
Also commenting, Omar Aybar, a special agent in charge of the investigation, stated that the alleged selling and purchasing of nursing diplomas and transcripts to willing but unqualified individuals is a crime that endangers the health and safety of patients and insults the honourable profession of nursing.
It was also revealed that 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.