By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
A recent announcement by the Washington State Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission (NCQAC), now known as the Washington State Board of Nursing, has listed 19 Florida schools that it states are or were involved in the fraudulent scheme investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as “Operation Nightingale.”
What Are the Names of the 19 Phony Florida Nursing Schools?
The 19 schools that NCQAC states were involved in taking nursing students’ money and issuing fake transcripts are:
Carleen Health Institute
Carleen Home Health School II
Ideal Professional Institute, Inc.
Jay College of Health LLC
Med-Life Institute – West Palm Beach
Med-Life Institute of South Florida
Med-Life Institute School of Nursing
Palm Beach School of Nursing
Quisqueya Health Care Academy
Quisqueya School of Nursing
Sacred Heart International Institute Inc.
Siena College of Health
Siena College of Health II LLC
Siena Education Center LLC
Sigma Institute of Health Careers
The Enfimye Institute
Some of the “newer” names on the list are owned and operated by some of the same fraudsters involved in the original “Gang of Six.” For example, Jay College of Health, LLC, was owned or operated by the notorious Johanah Napolean, who has been indicted and has been forced to forfeit millions of dollars in ill-gotten gains to the federal government. In reality, we believe there are many more than this.
How Many Have Been Caught and Convicted to Date?
For a list of the individuals who have been involved in the scam and who have been convicted through September 28, 2023, click here.
How Many More Phony Florida Nursing Schools Are There? Plenty!
We receive calls several times a week from nursing students who have attended “nursing schools” in Florida who state that heir tuition and fees have been taken and they have completed all courses and activities the school required to obtain a diploma but:
a. The school will not give them their diploma or transcripts or
b. The school is requiring them to pay more and take more courses than promised or
c. The school will not approve them to take the NCLEX examination to get a license or
d. The school and its owners have disappeared, and they can’t get a transcript to transfer.
Why Is All of This Fraud Occurring in Florida?
Why does all of this fraud seem to be occurring in Florida? It probably is not all of the fraud, only most of the fraud. We have also heard about phony nursing schools doing business in other states. But the vast majority of it seems to be in Florida.
Could this be because Florida prides itself in sheltering criminals and con men? Probably.
Is this because Florida regulatory agencies do not bother to monitor and regulate the schools they approve as they are supposed to. Most definitely.
Is this because Florida allows the use of shell companies and corporations to routinely defraud people so that the owners can disappear with their money without any consequences? You know it!
Why do you think the industries of Medicare fraud, Medicaid fraud, and healthcare fraud in general are doing so well here in Florida?
Why doesn’t Florida do something about it? Because we would lose all of that stolen income that helps support the rich and powerful here, that’s why.
Florida’s history of cons, scams, and fraud goes way back to the real estate salespeople selling Florida swamp land to out-of-state yokels who then moved here only to find the property they purchased was underwater, literally. And with Cuba only a boat ride away and many friendly Caribbean and South American countries only a direct plane flight away, suitcases full of cash can be spirited out of the country with little trouble.
Are you the victim of a phony nursing school not on the list?
Are you the victim of a phony nursing school not on the list? Don’t call us; we can’t do anything about these criminals doing this.
Instead, you might consider calling the FBI and the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), which is working hand-in-hand with the FBI and the various state nursing boards on these matters. The NCSBN can get the word out quickly to the states involved. Tell them you have been victimized by another school that should be part of “Operation Nightingale” and want to file a complaint.
The telephone number for the NCSBN is (312) 525-3600 or (888) 435-8242and ask for the Nursing Regulation Division, Nursing Education Section, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or send a written letter explaining the problem to:
National Council of State Boards of Nursing
Attn: Nurisng Regulation Division, Education Section
111 E. Wacker Drive, Suite 2900
Chicago, IL 60601.
The FBI’s main hotline for reporting possible criminal activity is (800) 225-5324, file a complaint or tip at https://tips.fbi.gov/home. Alternatively, and perhaps better, you can contact the Miami FBI Office, which is the one handling the Operation Nightingale investigation:
FBI Miami Dade Field Office
2030 S.W. 145th Avenue
Miramar, FL 33027
Phone: (754) 703-2000.
To see the Washington State NCQAC press release naming the 19 schools above, click here.
To see the original Department of Justice Press Release on Operation Nightingale, click here.
Click here to read one of our prior blogs on Operation Nightingale to learn even more.
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, licensure defense representation, investigation representation, Department of Health investigations, DOJ investigations, Board of Nursing investigations, formal and informal administrative hearings, emergency suspension orders, emergency restriction orders and other types of investigations of health professionals and providers.
To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or toll-free (888) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.
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. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620.
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