Sunday, March 3

3 linked to Palm Beach School of Nursing fraud found guilty

Three people linked to an illegal licensing and employment shortcut for aspiring nurses by the defunct Palm School of Nursing were found guilty in the Southern District of South Florida court after a three-week trial.

On Friday in Fort Lauderrdale, jurors convicted Gail Russ, a registrar at the school in Lake Worth Beach, and two recruiters: Cassandre Jean, owner and operator of Success Nursing Review in Brooklyn, New York, and Vilaire Duroseau, owner and operator of the Center for Advance Training and Studies in West Orange, New Jersey.

They were found guilty of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud charges. They face up to 20 years in prison.

District Corut Judge Raag Singhal set sentencing for 10 a.m. April 4.

The three were charged, along with 11 co-defendants, for their involvement in a scheme to sell fraudulent nursing degree diplomas and transcripts obtained from two private nursing schools, the Palm Beach County School of Nursing, which was associated with Quisqueya School of Nursing.

There were more than 7,600 fake nursing diplomas by Palm Beach School of Nursing and Quisqueya School of Nursing LLC.

At one time the schools were approved by the State of Florida to issue diplomas and transcripts to individuals seeking licenses and jobs as registered nurses and licensed practical/vocational nurses.

These bogus diplomas and transcripts qualified purchasers to sit for the national nursing board exam and, after passing it, to obtain licenses and jobs in various states as RNs and LPN/VNs.

These schools are now closed due to the excessive failure rates of their students taking the state nursing board exam.

In total, 27 defendants were charged and convicted in 2023 for their participation in this nursing diploma fraud scheme, known as Operation Nightingale. They were indicted in January.

The other schools named are the Sacred Heart Institute in Fort Lauderdale, Sienna College of Health and Lauderhill in the investigation dubbed “Operation Nightingale” after legendary nurse Florence Nightingale.

The Palm Beach County school, which operated on 2695 N. Military Trail in West Palm Beach, offered an Associate in Science degree. The school was licensed with the Florida Board of Nursing but it was terminated in 2017 due to low passing rates on the state certification exam. When it was dissolved in 2020, the address was 1110 Sixth Ave. S. in Lake Worth Beach.

Johanah Napoleon, who was president of the Palm Beach County School of Nursing, Florida College of Health and Quisqueya School of Nursing, was sentenced to 21 months in prison and must also pay $3.5 million as part of her sentencing for the role she played in a fraudulent nursing degree scheme, the Miami Herald reported July 19.

pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, as well as wire fraud in 2022. She was not named in the indictment in January.

There are two categories of defendants. Recruiters would bring “students” from other states to get the “shortcut” documents from the South Florida school. The other group included owners, operators and employees of nursing schools to fake diplomas and transcripts.

Palm Beach School of Nursing employees convicted were Gail Russ, Cheryl Stanley, Krystal Lopez and Ricky Riley.

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