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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
David Paulson, 410-576-6357
dpaulson@oag.state.md.us

AG Gansler Secures Guilty Plea in Fraudulent Nursing Certifications Scheme
Former Board of Nursing employee accepted bribes to access databases and illegally issue certificates to unqualified individuals


Baltimore, MD (April 19, 2012) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that former Maryland Board of Nursing employee Malika Yakini James, 37, and Yolanda Terrelle Dunham, 31, both of Baltimore, pleaded guilty to Bribery and Conspiracy to Commit Bribery, respectively, for their roles in a scheme to buy and sell fraudulent nursing assistant certifications. Sentencing for James and Dunham is scheduled for September 17 in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City.

"State employees are entrusted to protect the public, not to endanger their health and welfare by accepting payments for fabricated nursing certificates," said Attorney General Gansler. "Marylanders have the right to expect that they will always receive quality health care from qualified professionals."

Between July 2006 and October 2009, James, while serving as Administration Specialist for the Board of Nursing, accepted money in exchange for accessing the Board of Nursing databases and illegally issuing over 150 fraudulent nursing assistant and geriatric nursing assistant certifications to individuals who were not qualified to receive them. None of the individuals who purchased the fraudulent certifications had satisfied the requirements of completing a Board-approved course, followed by passing practical and written exams and a criminal background check. Other individuals participated in the scheme by recruiting buyers and collecting money. Dunham is one of the individuals who purchased a fraudulent nursing assistant certification.

Trial for six of the remaining defendants -- Vickeara Lashawn Green, 32; Tyesha Renee Jones, 32; Raymonia Yvonne Foreman, 31; Aisha Wendy Randolph, 33; Vernetta Shaquanda Hamilton, 26; and India Lania Beauford, 24, all of Baltimore -- is scheduled for June 19. Joyce Annette Johnsonand Natiakia Monique Sanders, both 37 and of Baltimore, will be arraigned on April 24 and May 29, respectively. All eight women are charged with Conspiracy to Commit Bribery.

The case is being prosecuted by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Maryland Attorney General's Office with assistance from the Maryland Board of Nursing and the Maryland State Police. Attorney General Gansler would like to thank Assistant Attorney General Catherine Schuster Pascale and Senior Fraud Analyst John Bettinger for their work on this case.

   

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