Nursing School Guilty Pleas Raise Questions Over Alleged Credentials Fraud Scheme

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Apr 29, 2023 | 0 Comments

Press reports of guilty pleas in the FBI's Operation Nightingale nursing school credentials scandal are revealing more of how the alleged schemes worked. But the defendant school officials' admissions in connection with the guilty pleas aren't making the criminal charges any clearer. The admissions instead continue to raise serious questions about the degree to which the nurses and nursing students implicated in the scandal did anything intentionally wrong.

If you are facing a state licensing board or employer challenge over your nursing credentials related to the scandal, or if you anticipate that you may soon face those challenges, call 888.535.3686 or go online now for the help you need to defend your credentials. Retain the Lento Law Firm's premier Professional License Defense Team and national license defense attorney Joseph D. Lento to help preserve and protect your nursing license and career.

Factual Basis for the Nursing School Guilty Pleas

For a court to accept a guilty plea, the court must generally find a factual basis supporting the criminal charges. Guilty pleas can thus clarify what the prosecution alleges that the defendant did, and the defendant has admitted doing wrong. Press reports of the guilty pleas of the Florida nursing school officials indicate that those officials:

● sold licensed practical nurse (LPN) and registered nurse (RN) degrees “without requiring proper training”;

● instead provided a “shortcut for students to avoid taking a nearly two-year nursing program requiring clinical work, national exams and certification”;

● “coached [students] on taking the licensing exams to practice nursing in a number of states”; and

● “collaborated with business associates” in an educational referral network to accomplish the scheme.

Sound Educational Practice or Fraud?

If one looks closely at these allegations, though, they do not so obviously support allegations of criminal fraud. The involved Florida nursing schools, all now closed, were generally access programs. Access programs do not look like traditional private and public university education. Schedules may be flexible to accommodate work and family obligations, and more courses may be online. All the involved nursing schools had state approval, meaning that at some point, they had satisfied officials that they had the facilities, curriculum, and staff in place for proper nursing training. And so when federal officials allege improper training, shortcuts, and coaching, one must look closely at what those allegations actually mean. The practices could, in some cases, have just been unconventional but otherwise sound. And yes, access schools often depend on referral networks to reach candidates who don't know that sound education is available to them in a non-traditional form.

Mounting an Effective Credentials Defense

Just because federal investigators or state licensing officials question your nursing credentials doesn't mean you've done anything wrong. Retain the Lento Law Firm's premier Professional License Defense Team and national license defense attorney Joseph D. Lento if you face or anticipate a state nursing license proceeding or employer issues over your nursing credentials. You may have a perfectly credible defense, if you give your defense team the time to help you document the authenticity of your credentials. Call 888.535.3686 or go online now.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento has unparalleled experience fighting for the futures of his professional clients nationwide. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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