AG Gansler: Two More Defendants Plead in Nursing Assistant Scheme
More than 150 fraudulent certificates issued by former state employee
Baltimore, MD ( March 14, 2013) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that Vickeara Lashawn Green, 33 and Vernetta Shaquanda Hamilton, 27, both of Baltimore, each pleaded guilty to one count of Conspiracy to Commit Bribery for their 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 Chief Judge Martin P. Welch sentenced Hamilton to three years incarceration in the Division of Corrections, suspended, and imposed four years unsupervised probation. As a condition of probation, Hamilton is to pay a $500 fine and perform 100 hours community service. Sentencing for Green and three other defendants has been set for May 7.
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 Green, James, Sanders and another co-defendant, Raymonia Yvonne Foreman, 32, has been set for May 7.
In December 2012, 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. In January 2013, Tyesha Renee Jones, 33, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty to one count of Conspiracy to Commit Bribery and was sentenced for her role in the scheme. Judge 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.
Trial for the remaining defendant, Aisha Wendy Randolph, 33, is scheduled for May 16. She is 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 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.