$100 Million Fake Nursing Diplomas Scheme: Twice as Many Florida Schools Now Under Investigation

Florida officials have doubled the number of schools under investigation concerning a $100 million fake nursing diploma scheme.

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$100 Million Fake Nursing Diplomas Scheme: Twice as Many Florida Schools Now Under Investigation

Florida officials were reportedly investigating three institutions that have allegedly sold fake nursing degrees in a staggering $100 million scheme.

This number has since risen to seven, but countless numbers remain throughout the rest of the United States, keeping federal officials on high alert. 

Nurses go through rigorous educational programs that span many years. In these programs, nurses are provided with the knowledge, skills, and judgment needed to practice safely in the real world.

Some individuals bypassed this process by fraudulently purchasing degrees from uncredited institutions. Many of these institutions, when investigated, either did not exist, had false addresses, no address, and missing seals of approvals, to name a few.

"In January, the Justice Department charged 25 people in five states connected to the alleged scheme. The investigation found evidence that between 2016 and 2021, the defendants sold more than 7,600 phony diplomas from three formerly accredited South Florida nursing schools. Siena College and Sacred Heart International Institute in Broward County and the Palm Beach School of Nursing," said NPR's Peter Haden. 


Federal investigators initially zeroed in on three schools, and now the state is looking into seven others.

Nursing & Public Safety

"To have someone that has never attended nursing school taking care of you or your loved one is terrifying. It's truly a public safety issue," stated the NPR report.

Paula Meyer, Executive Director of the Washington State Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission, noted of 150 people identified as graduates from the three Florida schools, some "had legitimate degrees." 

Despite the few occurrences, "some of them didn't have the seal. Some of them didn't have the address of the school. Some of them had different fonts on them," continued Meyer.

Related: Candida Auris: Dangerous Fungus Spreading in US Health Care Facilities

"Transparency by state boards of nursing could help allay some of that patient anxiety," added Dr. Gwen Randall, noting that despite the flagrant risks involved with fake nursing credentials, investigations have found "no harm caused by any suspect nurses to patients so far."

News of fake nursing degrees comes to us at a time when the skills of nurses are more essential than ever, as global health systems function within many social and economic constraints, scientific and technological advancements, and many more variables affecting relationships with patients. Proper education increases a nurse's skill set, which includes empathy, stated to be "key to quality care," as per the National Library of Medicine, among many more important lessons taught in proper nursing education.

This news was originally reported by NPR.


Hi everyone! My name is Praveen and I am a master's prepared Registered Nurse. I hope to leave you with some food for thought with my content! Happy Reading!

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Specializes in Occupational Health. Has 19 years experience.

What are the names of the seven programs? Is there a link to this info?


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How come these institutions continue to sell fake diplomas for years without being in law enforcement radar! Can't believe these scandals are happening in the USA


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What I'm I missing here? How is your fake degree gonna help you pass the NCLEX? That's what is there for right? To ensure a minimal standard is met regardless of  a crappy or fake nursing school. 

Also the BON at my state requires schools submit all paperwork directly to the board to approve for testing. No way these fake schools are by passing the board and given eligibility to sit for the NCLEX. The idea that people with fake nursing degrees are out there caring for your loved in a hospital seems a little far fetched.  We all should be more concerned about the burned out nurses with REAL degrees that are out there cutting corners.