AG Gansler secures another guilty plea in nursing certifications scheme
Three more await sentencing; trials for three others set for February, March
Baltimore, MD ( Jan. 14, 2013) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that Tyesha Renee Jones, 33, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty to one count of Conspiracy to Commit Bribery and was sentenced for her role in a scheme to buy and sell fraudulent nursing assistant certifications issued by a former employee of the Maryland Board of Nursing. Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Michael Reed sentenced Jones to a three-year period of incarceration, suspending all but 23 days, representing time served, three years unsupervised probation, a $500 fine and ordered Jones to perform 100 hours of community service.
"The individuals involved in this scheme are paying the price for their attempt to acquire nursing certifications in a fraudulent manner," said Attorney General Gansler. "We'll continue to go after these types of criminals so health care consumers can be assured of receiving care from qualified and properly licensed professionals."
An investigation revealed that Natiakia Monique Sanders, 38, would solicit individuals from Baltimore to purchase fraudulent nursing assistant certifications. She then provided identifying information and half of the money to Malika Yakini James, at the time an administration specialist for the Maryland Board of Nursing. James previously pleaded guilty to accepting the 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. Sanders pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery for her role in arranging for the purchase of the fraudulent certifications. Sentencing for James, Sanders and another co-defendant, Raymonia Yvonne Foreman, 32, has been scheduled for March 6.
In December, India Lania Beauford, 25, Joyce Annette Johnson, 38, and Yolanda Terrelle Dunham, 31, all of Baltimore, were each sentenced for their roles in the conspiracy. Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Michael Reed sentenced Beauford to Probation Before Judgment, three years unsupervised probation, a $500 fine and ordered her to perform 100 hours of community service. Judge Reed sentenced Dunham to Probation Before Judgment, three years unsupervised probation, and a $100 fine. Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Audrey Carrion sentenced Johnson to a three-year period of incarceration, all of which was suspended, three years unsupervised probation, a $500 fine and ordered Johnson to perform 100 hours of community service.
Trials for two of the remaining defendants, Vickeara Lashawn Green, 32, and Aisha Wendy Randolph, 33, are scheduled for February 19. Trial for a third remaining defendant, Vernetta Shaquanda Hamilton, 26, is scheduled for March 13. All are charged with Conspiracy to Commit Bribery with Sanders and James.
In order to receive a nursing assistant certification, an individual must take a Board-approved course, pass a practical and written exam, and be subject to a criminal background check.
The case is being prosecuted by the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit with assistance from the Maryland Board of Nursing and the Maryland State Police. In making the announcement, Attorney General Gansler thanked Assistant Attorney General Catherine Schuster Pascale, Senior Fraud Analyst John Bettinger and the Maryland State Police for their work on this case.