AG Gansler Announces Final Sentencing in Nursing Certifications Scheme
10 individuals pled guilty for buying and selling fake documents
Baltimore, MD (Sept. 26, 2013) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that Natiakia Monique Sanders 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. Sanders pleaded guilty in May 2012 to Conspiracy to Commit Bribery. Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Michael W. Reed sentenced Sanders to five years incarceration, all of which was suspended. Judge Reed further imposed a period of five years supervised probation, ordered Sanders to pay a $1,500 fine and to perform 200 hours of community service. Sanders is the tenth and last individual to plead guilty and be sentenced for participating in the fraudulent nursing assistant scheme.
"This sentencing wraps up a lengthy and successful effort to hold accountable the individuals responsible for this unlawful conspiracy," said Attorney General Gansler. "Nursing assistants have to satisfy multiple requirements to receive their certifications and this attempt to short-circuit that process was disgraceful."
An investigation revealed that Sanders, 38, solicited individuals from Baltimore to purchase fraudulent nursing assistant certifications. She would then provide the purchaser's identifying information and half of the money to Malika Yakini James, 38, who was then employed at the Board of Nursing. James would enter the fraudulent information into the agency's database and issue fraudulent certifications to individuals who did not fulfill the qualifications to be certified or geriatric nursing assistants. Over a three-year period, James issued more than 150 fraudulent certifications.
Each of the co-defendants pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Bribery. Details on their respective dispositions can be found at http://www.oag.state.md.us/Press/2013/073113c.html
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 Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Maryland Attorney General's Office prosecuted the case, with assistance from the Board of Nursing and the Maryland State Police. Attorney General Gansler thanked Assistant Attorney General Catherine Schuster Pascale and Senior Fraud Analyst John Bettinger for their work on this case.