ATLANTA — Three Atlanta nurses were removed from their positions at an Atlanta VA medical center once officials were made aware of a scheme involving fake nursing diplomas.
The scheme, which created more than 7,600 fake nursing diplomas, was uncovered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Federal agents learned that three south Florida-based nursing schools were involved in the scheme which included Siena College, Palm Beach School of Nursing and Sacred Heart International Institute.
The scheme not only put patients at risk but damaged the image of unsuspecting nurses who received fake diplomas and transcripts from the three accredited schools, according to a news release from the United States Department of Justice.
The medical center said the nurse’s removals were “very unfortunate but patient safety is and must be our primary responsibility at [veteran’s affairs].” The nurses were removed within days once the medical center became aware of the scheme, according to a statement from officials with the VA.
Aspiring nurses affected by the scheme may lose their certification but likely won't be criminally charged, federal officials said. It is up to the various states to vet and approve their license.
As for the 25 people possibly involved in the scheme, they face up to 20 years in prison. The Florida nursing schools are now closed.
MORE WAYS TO GET 11ALIVE
Watch newscasts, breaking news streams and get the latest sports, weather and VERIFY content -- 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Text "plus" to 404-885-7600 to download 11Alive+ and stream now.