Delaware annuls 26 nurses' licenses amid degree scheme probe

As state and federal investigations into a fraudulent nurse degree scheme continue, the Delaware Board of Nursing confirmed it has annulled the nursing licenses of 26 individuals, ABC affiliate WPVI reported Jan. 26.

The Justice Department on Jan. 25 said it uncovered a coordinated scheme to sell fraudulent diplomas and transcripts to aspiring nurses from three now-shuttered nursing schools in Florida. Individuals allegedly used the fake paperwork to fast-track the process for them to take the National Council Licensure Examination, even if they had not completed the necessary coursework to graduate or qualify for the test, federal authorities said. 

"All of us feel this is egregious," Pamela Zickafoose, MSN, RN, executive director of the Delaware Board of Nursing, told WPVI

It is unclear whether the 26 Delaware nurses who had their licenses annulled were actively working in direct patient care roles, and if they were, at what facilities. WPVI said the individuals may appeal the board's decision.

In total, 25 people face charges of wire fraud and wire fraud conspiracy for their alleged participation in the sale of more than 7,600 fraudulent diplomas and transcripts. If convicted, the defendants face up to 20 years in jail.

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing and its state regulatory bodies have also been working closely with state and federal authorities to identify and monitor individuals who allegedly purchased the fake nursing degrees. 

"Nursing regulatory bodies in affected states have been investigating individual cases and are taking appropriate action, in accordance with their state laws and due process, that includes loss of license," the national nursing board told Becker's Jan. 26. 

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