More than 150 certificates were illegally issued
Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced that India Lania Beauford, 25, Joyce Annette Johnson, 38, and Yolanda Terrelle Dunham, 31, all of Baltimore, were each sentenced for their roles in a scheme to buy and sell fraudulent nursing assistant certifications issued by the Maryland Board of Nursing. 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.
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. Beauford, Dunham and Johnson purchased fraudulent certifications.
Sentencing for James, Sanders and another co-defendant, Raymonia Yvonne Foreman, 32, has been set for March 6, 2013. Sanders and Foreman had pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Bribery for purchasing a fraudulent nursing assistant certification. Conspiracy to Commit Bribery carries a term of imprisonment between two and twelve years and a fine of between $100 and $5,000.
Trials for three of the remaining defendants, Vickeara Lashawn Green, 32, Tyesha Renee Jones, 32, and Aisha Wendy Randolph, 33, are scheduled for February 19, 2013. Trial for a fourth defendant, Vernetta Shaquanda Hamilton, 26, is scheduled for December 19. 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 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.