Phony Florida Nursing Diploma Scam: Federal Criminal Indictments in “Operation Nightingale”

Attorney George F. Indest III Headshot

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

In January 2023, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the prosecution of a massive fake nursing diploma scheme against three Florida-based nursing schools. The investigation has now expanded to include at least eight (8) nursing schools.

The investigation has now resulted in charges against 25 people in five states and found evidence that they allegedly worked to “sell” more than 7,600 fake diplomas, along with school transcripts, between 2016 and 2021. Click here to learn more.

The Federal Indictment.

We have obtained a copy of the federal indictment filed against the individual owners, operators, and staff members whom the FBI alleges were committing crimes, including selling diplomas and transcripts. View the federal indictment filed in the investigation to check for any names you recognize by clicking here:

Additionally, you can view other helpful press releases and documents on “Operation Nightingale” on our website here.

Concerns We Have About This Investigation.

We have several concerns about this investigation based on the nurses we spoke with. As usual, the events that have resulted in this “scandal” have been going on for as many as eight years. Nothing has been done until recently, and then it is as though a tornado has just hit. We are concerned about what we view as a massive overreaction that is resulting in many babies being thrown out with the bad bath water.

What seems to have been overlooked is that these nursing schools were all accredited by the proper accreditation bodies until this happened. We have clients who contacted the Florida Board of Nursing, which affirmed that the schools were legitimate, accredited schools before our clients enrolled in them and only enrolled after being assured that they were.

In many cases, our clients and others with whom we have spoken attended other accredited nursing schools but then transferred to one of the Florida schools and received credits for their transferred courses. There was and is nothing illegal or wrong about this. We have spoken to many nurses who took all required courses to become nurses, performed their clinical, graduated, received diplomas, took the NCLEX (national nursing) examination, passed, and became licensed nurses. Some of these have been practicing for years. Some have been practicing for only days. Yet now, they are all getting letters telling them they are being investigated for possible fraud. It is devastating to many who worked so hard to become nurses.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Investigations Against Nurses and Nursing Students.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm provide legal representation to nurses, nursing students, and ARNPs in Department of Health (DOH) investigations, nursing board cases, Department of Health investigations, DOJ and FBI investigations, Board of Nursing investigations, formal and informal administrative hearings, emergency suspension orders, emergency restriction orders and other types of investigations of nurses and other health professionals.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or toll-free (888) 331-6620 and visit our website at

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620.

Current Open Positions with The Health Law Firm. The Health Law Firm always seeks qualified individuals interested in health law. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. If you are a current member of The Florida Bar or a qualified professional who is interested, please forward a cover letter and resume to: or fax them to (407) 331-3030.

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2023 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.