A Woodhaven man was one of 11 people charged with operating five bogus nursing schools, including one in Queens Village and another in Floral Park, and defrauding hundreds of students of $6 million for fake nursing degrees, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said.
A series of early morning raids conducted last week led to the arrests of eight people for their participation in the scam while three others were charged in an indictment, Schneiderman said.
Among those charged were 36-year-old Woodhaven resident Robinson Akenami, identified in the indictment as the owner and operator of the Helping Angels Foundation, which the attorney general said operated two fake nursing schools: one at 245-06 Jericho Tnpk. in Floral Park and another in Brooklyn.
Another supposedly fake nursing school was operating at 212-47 Jamaica Ave. in Queens Village, Schneiderman said.
“These conspirators intentionally targeted people in pursuit of new opportunities, lining their pockets with others’ hard-earned money,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “This case sends a clear message to anyone looking to profit off of exploitation and fraud: You will be caught. My office has zero tolerance for such criminal conduct and will continue to hold those who commit it accountable.”
The 11 defendants allegedly conspired to create and operate entities that claimed to be nursing schools, the attorney general said.
They are charged with recruiting people, particularly low-income residents, and falsely saying that completed programs at their schools made them eligible to take the state Nursing Board Exam and become licensed practical nurses or registered nurses in New York, Schneiderman said.
Those who enrolled at the schools paid between $7,000 and $20,000 and then spent between 10 months and two years completing the schools’ programs, only to be issued fake transcripts and certifications from various foreign schools — none of which were approved to operate in the state, Schneiderman said.
Contrary to what the students were told, those who paid for and participated in the programs were not eligible for the nursing board exam or to become nurses, the attorney general said.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz
©2011 Community News Group
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