Skip to main content
Press Release

Guilty Pleas in Fraudulent Nursing Diploma Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Florida

MIAMI – Five of dozens of defendants charged in the Southern District of Florida for their alleged participation in a scheme that created an illegal licensing and employment shortcut for aspiring nurses have pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy.

Krystal Lopez and Damian Lopez (both of Palm Beach County, Fla.); Francois Legagneur (of Nassau County, N.Y.), Reynoso Seide (of Union County, N.J.); and Yelva Saint Preux (of Suffolk County, N.Y.) will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Raag Singhal in federal district court in Fort Lauderdale on July 27. They each face up to 20 years in federal prison.

During guilty plea hearings before U.S. District Judge Raag Singhal, D. Lopez, Legagneur, Seide, and Saint Preux admitted to soliciting and recruiting people who sought nursing credentials that would allow them to work as registered, licensed practical, or vocational nurses. They also admitted to working with Palm Beach School of Nursing to create and distribute fraudulent diplomas and transcripts representing that the aspiring nursing candidates had attended the school and completed the necessary courses and clinicals to obtain their nursing diplomas. In fact, the aspiring nurses had not completed the courses and clinicals. K. Lopez admitted that, in her role as Palm Beach School of Nursing’s Finance Director, she processed applications for individuals who were issued fraudulent nursing school diplomas and transcripts and that each student paid the school $15,000 for the documents. The defendants all admitted to profiting from the scam.  

U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe for the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey B. Veltri of the FBI, Miami Field Office, and Special Agent in Charge Omar Pérez Aybar of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Miami Region, made the announcement.

FBI Miami and HHS-OIG Miami investigated, with valuable assistance from Homeland Security Investigations, Miami Field Office; U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs-Office of Inspector General; United States Postal Inspection Service, Miami; and Florida Attorney General-Florida Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, Mid-Atlantic Field Office.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Clark is prosecuting this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Grosnoff is handling asset forfeiture.

This case is being prosecuted in conjunction with a related criminal matter in the District of Maryland.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at or at under case number 23-cr-60007. Related cases in the Southern District of Florida are case nos. 22-cr-60111, 22-cr-60118, 23-cr-60005, 23-cr-60010, 23-cr-60012, and 23-cr-60013.



Public Affairs Unit

U.S. Attorney’s Office

Southern District of Florida

Updated May 25, 2023

Health Care Fraud