Nearly 50 nurses in New Jersey had their permanent or temporary licenses nullified in the wake of a federal investigation into five now-closed Florida universities that issued bogus diplomas, state authorities announced.
According to New Jersey Attorney Genearl Matthew J. Platkin, 20 nurses received notices ordering them to immediately cease and desist any nursing practice in the state. They were also required to notify their employers, he said on Thursday, March 9.
Any who continue to practice nursing in New Jersey could face fines or other penalties, the attorney general said.
Each of them "will have the opportunity to provide evidence to the Board of Nursing that they have received the appropriate education and training to have their license reinstated," he added.
Another 26 aspiring nurses had temporary licenses nullified by the board and were also ordered to immediately stop nursing in New Jersey, Platkin said.
The trouble stems from the arrests of 26 people by the U.S. Justice Department for a wire-fraud scheme at the five shuttered universities. Roughly 7,600 fraudulent diplomas were issued nationwide, for which each student had to pay nearly $15,000, the attorney general said.
"The 46 individuals...have been flagged in the National Council of State Boards of Nursing nationwide data system," Platkin said. "This allows other state boards to monitor the individuals until their cases are resolved.
"Once a disciplinary action has been taken by one state board of nursing related to diploma fraud, all of the other state boards of nursing will have access to that information in order to prevent additional fraud," he added.
New Jersey authorities will "continue to partner" with other boards of nursing, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and federal law enforcers to help "detect, investigate, and resolve these allegations of diploma and credential fraud," Platkin said.
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