Student Left With ‘Nothing’ After Nursing School Shut Down for Issuing Fake Diplomas

When Lucy Brown signed up for the Palm Beach School of Nursing, she thought she made the right choice.

“I like to help people,” said Brown, who concealed her face and didn’t want to give her real name. “I see it as rewarding.”

But last week, federal authorities arrested 25 people and shut down the Palm Beach School of Nursing and two other colleges after investigators uncovered an elaborate web of money wiring, recruiting, and criminal activity to hand out fake nursing diplomas and transcripts.

Up to 7,600 fraudulent diplomas were sold at $15,000 each, authorities said.

NBC 6 anchor Cherney Amhara has more on the arrests of 25 people accused of operating a multi-million dollar scheme .

The news stunned Brown, but she said she always thought something was a little sketchy about her online degree program.

“They are monsters because you have to have clinical experience to do medication, to give IV, you can kill somebody,” she said. “It’s a monster.”

Now Brown is left wondering about all the money she spent and whether or not she can get it all back.

“Tuition, I paid $16,000, not to mention I had to pay $99 to sit the exam,” Brown said. “Plus I paid the plane fare, hotel, so roughly $25,000.”

Brown still doesn’t have her diploma.

“Nothing. Nothing. And when I asked for the transcript, they sent us a fake transcript,” she said.

Dr. Rebekah Bernard with the nonprofit Physicians for Patient Protection said it’s not surprising this is happening after the pandemic.

“I would say that based on the rapid proliferation of online training programs that started well before COVID-19 but have definitely increased since COVID-19 just because of the difficulties we’ve had with being able to have in-person training, we know that there’s going to be a higher chance that some of these people are going to slip through the cracks,” Bernard said.

Brown, along with several students, left the program when they realized it was a scam. Now they’ve filed complaints with their state attorneys to try and see how they can get their money back.