Wednesday, April 17

Defunct nursing school registrar sentenced to 78 months in prison

The registrar of the defunct Palm Beach School of Nursing in Lake Worth Beach was sentenced to 78 months in prison as part of illegal licensing and employment shortcuts for aspiring nurses.

On Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale, U.S. District Judge Raag Singhal also sentenced Gail Russ to three years of supervised release and ordered forfeiture of $861,672.

In addition, two recruiters for the school were sentenced Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale.

Vilaire Duroseau, owner and operator of the Center for Advance Training and Studies in West Orange, New Jersey, was sentenced to 33 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release and ordered forfeiture of $1,381,913.40.

Cassandre Jean, owner and operator of Success Nursing Review in Brooklyn, New York, was sentenced to 36 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, a $20,000 fine and ordered forfeiture of $4,698,828.

They were found guilty in the Southern District of South Florida court after a three-week trial in December.

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.

Those schools issued more than 7,600 fake nursing diplomas.

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 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 and Sienna College of Health in 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, president of the two Palm Beach County schools, 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.

She 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.

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

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