More than 7,600 fraudulent nursing diplomas were distributed as part of a money-making scheme. Find out how investigators discovered the scheme and its consequences.

  • Twenty-five individuals across five states were charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud for creating and distributing more than 7,600 fake nursing diplomas.
  • Up to a third of individuals who received fake nursing credentials may still be providing patient care.
  • State boards of nursing are working to make sure no one with a fake nursing diploma continues to provide care.

More than 7,600 fake nursing diplomas were awarded in an alleged scheme to sell fraudulent nursing diplomas and transcripts. Individuals used the false credentials to get licensed and find employment in many states.

Learn more about the investigation, charges, and actions boards of nursing in each state are taking to prevent these individuals with false credentials from continuing to practice.

Operation Nightingale: The Federal Investigation of Fake Nursing Diplomas

On January 25, 2023, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), the FBI, and the Department of Justice carried out a multistate operation to apprehend the people involved in an alleged scheme to sell fraudulent nursing diplomas and transcripts.

The operation was named “Operation Nightingale” after Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing who created the first science-based training for nurses. The HHS-OIG partnered with law enforcement to execute search warrants across five states:

  • Delaware
  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Texas
  • Florida

More than 7,600 aspiring registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) bought false diplomas to find work with unsuspecting healthcare providers in several states. The diploma represented that these individuals attended the college that provided the diploma and completed all the necessary coursework, so they were able to get their nursing licenses. Yet, they did not complete any classroom or clinical education. “The alleged selling and purchasing of nursing diplomas and transcripts to willing but unqualified individuals is a crime that potentially endangers the health and safety of patients and insults the honorable profession of nursing,” said Special Agent in Charge Omar Pérez Aybar of HHS-OIG…. (Excerpt from


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