July 8, 2003
Sean Caine, 410-576-6357
REGISTERED NURSE SENTENCED TO 2 1/2 YEARS
FOR PRACTICING NURSING AT TWO BALTIMORE HOSPITALS
General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that Florence Ngwe
Igwacho,40, of 15108 Jennings Lane in Bowie, was sentenced today
in Baltimore City Circuit Court before the Honorable Lynn K. Stewart
on two convictions of Practicing Registered Nursing without a License,
arising from her work at the VA Maryland Health Care System and
Mercy Medical Center. Florence Igwacho was also sentenced on a third
count of Identity Fraud.
to rendering her sentence, Judge Stewart told Igwacho that the Court
considered the offenses serious because she preyed upon "vulnerable
and helpless people," as the hospitalized patients depended
on a licensed nurse for care. For the first count, practicing registered
nursing without a license at the VA Maryland Care System, Judge
Stewart imposed a one-year sentence to the Division of Corrections,
suspending all but six months. The Court also imposed a five-year
period of supervised probation to follow incarceration with the
special condition that Florence Igwacho pay a fine of $5,000, the
maximum allowed by law. The sentence imposed for practicing registered
nursing at Mercy Medical Center without a license was a one-year
sentence consecutive to the first count. The Court imposed an additional
one-year consecutive sentence for the identity fraud conviction.
convictions and sentencing follow an investigation by the Maryland
Board of Nursing and the Criminal Investigation Division of the
Attorney Generals Office. The investigation revealed that
Ms. Igwacho received registered nursing assignments in Baltimore
through nursing staff agencies by assuming the identity of Karan
Awah, an actual registered nurse practicing in Washington, D.C.
and licensed in Maryland. Ms. Igwacho assumed the name and birth
date of registered nurse Karen Awah and presented nursing staff
agencies with Ms. Awahs Social Security Number, resident alien
card, and a copy of her Maryland RN nursing license. The imposter
also lied about having an RN degree from George Mason University.
Relying on the credentials presented, the staffing agencies
obtained nursing positions for the imposter at the city hospitals.
Igwacho worked a number of night shifts at the Va Hospital and at
Mercy before she was discovered. On August 1, 2002, an RN from Mercy
was doing drill duty at Walter Reed Army Hospital as an Army Reserve
Lieutenant. There she met the actual Karen Awah and both realized
the nurse at Mercy was an imposter. Shortly after, Igwacho was expelled
from the hospitals and terminated by the staffing agencies.
Igwacho was simply pretending to be a nurse," Attorney General
Curran said. "In doing so, she put others in serious danger
by performing tasks which she was unqualified and unlicensed to
case was prosecuted by the Criminal Investigations Division of the
Attorney Generals Office.