A jury on Friday convicted a 54-year-old Elmont woman and two co-defendants with illegally running a network of fraudulent nursing schools for half a decade that charged victims upwards of $20,000 in tuition for bogus transcripts and certifications.
The five-week trial in Brooklyn Supreme Court culminated with the jury finding the trio guilty of scheme to defraud and multiple counts of grand larceny. They each face up to seven years in prison. All three are scheduled to be sentenced before Justice Joel Goldberg in Kings County Supreme Court on March 21.
From April 2006 to February 2011, 58-year-old Salvatrice Gaston of Brooklyn, 38-year-old Robinson Akenami of Queens and 54-year-old Joceyln Allrich of Elmont operated four phony nursing schools, including two in Nassau County, and recruited many low income earners, prosecutors said. The program promised to put students on the path toward a nursing profession, prosecutors said, and would make them eligible to take the New York State Nursing Board Exam and become Licensed Practical Nurses or Registered Nurses.
They charged between $7,000 to $20,000 for tuition, prosecutors said, and awarded students fraudulent transcripts and certifications in the name of schools that were not approved by New York State.
The trio collected more than $1 million from 100-plus students, prosecutors said. The programs took between 10 months and two years to complete.
Two of the schools were located on Jericho Turnpike in Floral Park, dubbed Helping Angels Foundation of America, and on Hempstead Turnpike in Franklin Square, known as Hope-VTEC or J. Allrich Productions, Inc.
“These defendants set up a fraudulent get-rich-quick scheme by targeting people hoping to pursue new opportunities,” New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement. “They lined their own pockets with their victims’ hard earned money, and are now facing significant jail time.”
Four others have been convicted for their roles in the scheme, including two who pleaded guilty in 2012 to scheme to defraud and conspiracy, and were sentenced to 1 to 3 years in prison. Two others pleaded guilty to the indictment in 2013; one was sentenced to a year in prison, and the other was discharged having already served more than a year in jail.
The case against four remaining defendants is pending.