More nurses claim innocence in degree scheme

Five months after the Justice Department charged 25 people for allegedly selling thousands of fake nursing degrees, nurses with annulled licenses because of the scheme told The Philadelphia Inquirer they were scammed. 

One of the students of the sham schools that ran in Florida, Ramatu Ali, sought to go from an LPN to RN after a flier advertising the program was sent to her mailbox in Delaware. She and four friends joined the yearlong program that cost up to $14,000, offered hands-on clinical training and required frequent trips to Florida. 

Ms. Ali and two of her friends said they confirmed the Florida Board of Nursing approved the school before enrolling in 2018. 

"We did everything we were supposed to do," Ms. Ali told the Inquirer. "I went to school. I did the work."

After the scheme was uncovered in January, Delaware revoked Ms. Ali's license because the state board limits online learning to 50 percent, and she voluntarily surrendered her New York license, according to the news outlet. She is currently working as an LPN for a home health company. 

Many other nurses have claimed they are innocent, and an attorney for three nurses who said they were wrongly accused said his clients who rightfully earned their degrees were "lumped in with people who bought their transcripts."

One nurse told Newsweek, "I sat there for my [National Council Licensure Examination] … and cried and cried and studied and studied. No one could take that NCLEX for me. It seems like all our hard work was in vain."

Across the nation, authorities and state nursing boards are working to find more nurses who went to the fake schools.

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