ATLANTA — Channel 2 consumer investigator Justin Gray has learned that 22 nurses practicing in Georgia have allegedly obtained their licenses with fake diplomas or transcripts.
The Georgia Board of Nursing has sent them letters asking them to voluntarily surrender their nursing licenses within 30 days.
Those letters were sent on Jan. 17 and so far, none of the nurses have.
“It’s concerning and alarming,” Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told Gray.
Raffensperger’s office oversees the nursing board.
“Our job is to make sure that our people in Georgia, our patients know they have credentialed nurses that are practicing there,” Raffensperger said.
The Georgia nurses are allegedly among the thousands who paid $15,000 each for a bogus diploma from three south Florida nursing schools.
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The FBI and Justice Department announced the bust of the $100,000 million nationwide fraud ring last week. They called it Operation Nightingale.
Federal prosecutors say instead of going to class, the nurses bought degrees and transcripts.
“The fact of the matter is the nursing candidates had done no work for these diplomas,” said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Markenzy Lapointe.
Channel 2 Action News has confirmed three of those nurses with sham degrees worked at the Atlanta VA Medical Center.
“Within days of learning of this nationwide scheme, we removed three nurses from patient care at the Atlanta VA Medical Center. Their removal is very unfortunate but patient safety is and must be our primary responsibility at VA,” said VA Press Secretary Terrence Hayes.
Raffensperger said state investigators are now working with the FBI to get the evidence needed to revoke the licenses of any of the nurses who refuse to surrender them voluntarily.
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