Trio Convicted Of Running Fake Nursing Schools

To clarify, this is not one of the defendants, but she's probably just as much of a real nurse as any of the people who went to these fake nursing schools. (Photo: Mike Rollerson)

To clarify, this is not one of the defendants, but she’s probably just as much of a real nurse as any of the people who went to these fake nursing schools. (Photo: Mike Rollerson)

When you scam wannabe nurses out of more than a million dollars by selling them a fake education, you have to expect you’ll get caught at some point. But that didn’t stop three women in New York from operating a number of bogus nursing school programs in NYC and Long Island.

According to NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office, between April 2006 and Feb. 2011, the three defendants and their co-conspirators operated a network of fake schools in Brooklyn and Nassau County on Long Island.

The women would create each of the schools — under three different names in four locations — so that they appeared to be legitimate nursing programs that promised to prepare students to take the New York State Nursing Board Exam (NCLEX) to become Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) or Registered Nurses (RNs), a promise they were unable to keep.

Students, mostly from lower-income backgrounds, paid tuitions ranging from $7,000 to $20,000 and would attend classes for anywhere from 10 months to two years. But when they finished, the documents they received — sometimes issued in the names of a school in Jamaica (the island nation; not the neighborhood in Queens) — were fraudulent and not approved by the New York State Education Department.

“Contrary to what they were told, the students who paid for and participated in the programs were not eligible to take the Nursing Board Exam or become LPNs or RNs,” reads a statement from the AG’s office.

The schools went by the names of Envision Review Center, the Helping Angels Foundation of America (HAFA), and Hope-VTEC. The defendants pulled in more than $1 million from at least 100 different students using this scam.

After a trial, two defendants were each found guilty on felony First Degree Fraud charges, and six counts of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree. A third defendant was found guilty of those same charges plus another two counts of Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree.

Each of the defendants faces a maximum sentence of 2-1/3 to 7 years in jail. They are scheduled to be sentenced on March 21.

“These defendants set up a fraudulent get-rich-quick scheme by targeting people hoping to pursue new opportunities. They lined their own pockets with their victims’ hard earned money, and are now facing significant jail time,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “We thank the jury for their service. Their verdict sends a clear message to anyone looking to profit from fraud: You will be brought to justice.”

Four co-conspirators have already been convicted for their involvement in the scheme. In 2012, two defendants pleaded guilty to Scheme to Defraud (a class E felony) and Conspiracy in the Fifth Degree (a class A misdemeanor) and were each sentenced to 1 to 3 years in prison. Last year, one co-defendant who was listed as the owner of one of the fake schools pleaded guilty and was sentenced to one year in prison, while the final co-defendant pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a conditional discharge after already serving more than a year in jail.

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  1. APK1080 says:

    Can you imagine how much work it would be to set up fake schools that appeared to be legitimate and allowed victims to attend classes for up to 2 years? Hardly seems worth all the effort for a split share of 1 million after costs. And their would have to be a ton of costs.

    • DyinMyelin says:

      Or how little effort it would take to make it legitimate? re University of Phoenix, Everest, Kaplan.

    • CzarChasm says:

      I was just talking to someone about this the other day. For some reason there is a subset of people who are willing to work really, really hard, in order to not have to have a “real” job.

      My other thought here is: What the hell was their endgame? They had to KNOW they were going to get caught with just a couple of years, what did they think was going to happen?