Seven Plead Guilty to Forging Transcripts in Order to Become Nurses
SACRAMENTO – Seven people plead guilty to charges of forgery for using fake transcripts to become licensed as Registered Nurses. All were arrested as a result of a multi-agency probe initiated by the Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) that involved the Division of Investigation (DOI), the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Juan Malaluan Tenorio, Jr. and Glyn Cordova Villegas of Kern County, James Quijano Leoncio of Orange County, Philip Tolentino Sarmiento, Laurence Viernes, German Zagada and Jude Dagza Leoncio of Los Angeles County applied for licenses to practice as Registered Nurses in California using false and forged nursing school transcripts from the Philippines. They now face up to three years in prison.
BRN licensing staff were instrumental in assisting with identifying the individuals involved and verifying they did not attend the nursing schools listed on applications for licensure.
“Protecting patient safety is the Board’s top priority,” said Louise Bailey, Executive Officer of the Board of Registered Nursing. “A nurse without the proper education could be dangerous to a patient.”
The Board of Registered Nursing and the Division of Investigation worked with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Internal Revenue Services’ Criminal Investigation Division to investigate and arrest the seven. An eighth individual Joanne Keeney, the suspected-ringleader, currently resides in the Philippines. There is a warrant for her arrest.
At the request of the Board of Registered Nursing, a Sacramento County Superior Court Judge ordered Juan Malaluan Tenorio, Jr., Glyn Cordova Villegas, Philip Tolentino Sarmiento, Laurence Viernes, German Zagada, Jude Dagza Leoncio, and James Quijano Leoncio not to practice as registered nurses.
The Board of Registered Nursing filed and served accusations against Juan Malaluan Tenorio, Jr., Glyn Cordova Villegas, Philip Tolentino Sarmiento, Laurence Viernes, Jude Dagza Leoncio and James Quijano Leoncio on May 16, 2014, and German Zagada on May 22, 2014 seeking revocation of their RN licenses.
All seven people are expected to be sentenced June 27, 2014.
The Board of Registered Nursing regulates the practice of registered nursing and certified advanced practice nurses in order to protect the public. The Board exists to protect the health and safety of consumers and promote quality registered nursing care in California.