Two businessmen accused of selling fake nursing diplomas


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Instead of offering a 22-month nursing trail filled with clinical work, national exams, and certification to practice, a South Florida educational racquet provided fake diplomas to hundreds of students in a matter of weeks for about $ 17,000 each, according to federal officials.

A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted Geralda Adrien and Woosvelt Predestin with conspiracy to commit mail and electronic fraud, accusing them of fabricating fake nursing credentials through a pair of Fort Lauderdale companies who collaborated with a few nursing schools in Broward and Palm Beach counties, according to the indictment and an FBI criminal affidavit.

Adrien’s two companies, Docu-Flex & More and PowerfulU Health Care Services, conspired with Siena Education Center in Lauderhill and Palm Beach School of Nursing in Lake Worth “to sell fraudulent diplomas and transcripts” to students, then “coach” them to take their licensing exams in New York City, according to the affidavit and state public records online. There was no limit to the number of times students could take the nursing license exam in New York State.

The FBI investigation was built on a whistleblower from Maryland and conducted by undercover agents who interacted with the two defendants, Adrien and Predestin, according to the criminal affidavit filed by Assistant US Attorney Christopher Clark.

Adrien and Predestin are currently in custody and have been indicted for July 26. Adrien’s defense attorney Julio Perez declined to comment, and Predestin’s attorney Marco Quezada could not be reached.

As of March 2019, the FBI and the US Department of Health and Human Services investigated the actions of two organizations based in South Florida, as well as two anonymous nursing schools, according to the criminal affidavit. .

Adrien and Predestin were involved in two businesses. The first, Docu-Flex & More, LLC., Opened in February 2020 at 3601 W. Commercial Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. The company was managed by Adrien and its website features services such as background checks, notaries, CPR courses, IT solutions, and resume writing.

The second, PowerfulU Health Care Services, opened in November 2014 and was also headed by Adrien. According to its Facebook page, the company is “a group of nurses and doctors who want to empower men and women by helping them become a health care provider.”

Predestin worked at Docu-Flex and PowerfulU to help Adrien provide fake nursing diplomas and transcripts to students at two schools in Broward and Palm Beach counties, according to the affidavit.

The FBI was told by a confidential source in 2019 that the source purchased a fake diploma and transcript from a nursing school for $ 17,000 in South Florida.

Earlier this year, an undercover FBI employee met Adrien in her Fort Lauderdale office, where she explained that a normal nursing school program was 22 months long and could be the equivalent of four years at a major university. At the program, Adrien said she treated students at a nursing school on probation or closed, so students appeared to attend that school for a while.

Adrien offered the undercover employee a diploma from Palm Beach County School of Nursing and training for a licensing exam in New York City at a cost of $ 16,000, the affidavit states. The diploma would arrive in a few weeks.

Adrien offered to complete the board certification application and take the courses designated for the undercover FBI employee. She also created an account through an accredited nursing education website used in New York state and assigned the employee the password “123456”, according to the FBI affidavit.

She assured the undercover employee that the transcript and nursing school diploma would be ready for them in two weeks. The employee was ordered to complete an application for admission to nursing school and backdate to show that the form was completed in June 2016.

Predestin also helped the undercover employee apply for a license through the New York State system. When the employee asked which nursing school to write on the form, Predestin replied, “Leave that to me. “

The undercover employee received the diploma on March 31, 13 days after his first meeting with Adrien. The document stated that the employee graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Nursing with a GPA of 3.4 on June 29, 2018.

At one point, Adrien told the FBI undercover agent that she had students even outside of Florida buying her degrees and that she had “a lot of people everywhere,” according to the affidavit. .

The investigation provided information from two other confidential human sources who paid for fraudulent nursing degrees, according to the affidavit prepared by FBI Special Agent Thomas Clark. One confessed to Adrien and Predestin that he had no medical experience.

They were assured that graduating from nursing school would not be a problem and that they could graduate in mid-June.

Although they are not identified by name in the affidavit, the Miami Herald has learned from state public records that “School of Nursing No. 1” is the Palm Beach School of Nursing. , incorporated on April 11, 2016, and “Nursing School No. 2” is Siena Education Center, incorporated on May 22, 2006.

The Palm Beach school was previously accredited by the Florida Board of Nursing as a legitimate nursing education program, but its license was terminated in May 2017 due to the low pass rate on the certification exam. State.

Siena Nursing School also saw its bachelor’s degree placed under probationary status in 2020 due to low certification exam pass rates.

According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, students who wish to become registered nurses or licensed practical nurses must show proof of graduation from an approved program and passing the National Council licensing exam. Some states also require a criminal background check.

“The purpose of a professional license is to protect the public from harm by setting minimum qualifications and skills for safe novice practitioners,” according to NCSBN.

Florida’s Nursing Practice Act states that the curriculum for future nurses must include clinical experience, which may involve working in a community setting, acute care, or long-term care.

If you have any information to report regarding this or any other case involving forged medical credentials, please call the FBI Hotline: (410) 277-6999.

Miami Herald staff writer Jay Weaver contributed to this story.

This story was originally published July 15, 2021 6:33 pm.


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