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Three found guilty of fraud in South Florida nursing-school ‘diploma mill’ trial

Three people charged with playing crucial roles in a South Florida nursing-school “diploma mill” were found guilty by a federal jury Friday, after a three-week trial where prosecutors accused the defendants of corrupting the healthcare field.

Prosecutors said that more than 3,500 students paid between $10,000 and $20,000 for bogus academic credentials from the defunct Palm Beach School of Nursing — after Florida regulators had shut it down in 2018 — so they could sit for licensing exams in New York and gain employment in the healthcare field without proper training. After six hours of deliberations, the 12-member Fort Lauderdale federal jury agreed that the three defendants were at the root of the corruption conspiracy.

The defendants — Gail Russ, 72, the former nursing school registrar; Cassandre Jean, 38, a student recruiter from New York, and Vilaire Duroseau, 58, a recruiter from New Jersey — were convicted of conspiring to commit wire fraud and multiple wire fraud counts that carry up to 20 years in prison. Specifically, the jury found Russ, of Coconut Creek, guilty of 13 wire fraud offenses but not guilty of 5 others; the jury also found Jean, of Wellington and New York, guilty of 4 wire fraud counts and Duroseau guilty of 4 wire fraud counts.

Go to Herald.com for the full report.

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