(KXNET) — A North Dakota nurse has been identified in an FBI investigation, known as Operation Nightingale, as one of thousands who falsified their nursing credentials.
Dorothy Cummings, an LPN, who worked at PAM Health Rehabilitation Hospital in North Dakota, took part in a scheme that produced thousands of fake nursing diplomas and transcripts.
Cummings is said to have fraudulently obtained documents that she used to receive her practical nurse license in North Dakota, in November 2020.
“On Sept. 6, 2022, the NDBON was made aware of an individual in North Dakota who was identified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation who obtained falsified credentials,” said Stacey Pfenning, the executive director of the NDBON. “North Dakota Board of Nursing NDBON took swift action by issuing an order of emergency suspension to prevent the nurse from engaging in the practice of nursing,”
Federal authorities say the scheme leaders, who sold nursing diplomas for $15,000 a piece, are tied to three Florida nursing schools that have now lost their accreditation.
PAM Hospital, where Cummings worked, told KX News, “This individual had previously worked at PAM on a periodic basis from July 2021 through October 2021. At the time she was a licensed LPN by the state of North Dakota and the State of Minnesota, and was employed full-time by another healthcare system.”
When her North Dakota license was suspended in September of 2022, Cummings had not worked at PAM in nearly a year.
Her license is now suspended in Minnesota as well.
Cummings, among 7,600 others, used the fake diplomas to take the national nursing licensing exam, and land jobs as registered nurses.
The ‘nurses’ did not attend nursing classes or receive clinical training.
Cummings’ suspension, in North Dakota, will last five years. She has not yet been criminally charged.
“Public safety is of the utmost importance to the North Dakota Board of Nursing,” said Dr. Stacey Pfenning, the executive director of the North Dakota Board of Nursing. “Upon learning that an individual located in North Dakota was named in the FBI’s investigation, our compliance division took immediate action to prevent the nurse from engaging in the practice of nursing by issuing an order of emergency suspension. We continue to monitor the ongoing investigation and will not hesitate to take additional measures to protect public safety should additional individuals be brought to our attention by law enforcement.”