Seven people have been sentenced to 210 days each in jail for filing false academic credentials to obtain registered nursing licenses.
James Leoncio, Jude Leoncio, Philip Sarmiento, Juan Tenorio, Laurence Viernes, Glyn Villegas and German Zagada pleaded no contest May 13 to felony charges of filing false documents with a government agency and forgery, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office news release. They were sentenced today by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Kevin McCormick.
Between April 2006 and July 2010, the defendants each paid co-defendant Jo Anne Keeney approximately $25,000 to provide them with false academic credentials to obtain registered nursing licenses. Authorities said Keeney provided forged diplomas and transcripts from two different nursing colleges in the Philippines to each of the defendants, who then filed them with the Board of Registered Nursing in support of their applications for nursing licenses.
The defendants obtained registered nursing licenses and worked in various hospitals throughout southern and central California.
Authorities said Keeney is believed to have returned to the Philippines and has an outstanding warrant for her arrest in the case.
“By circumventing the licensing requirements that were created to protect the public, the defendants’ actions presented a tremendous risk of harm to unsuspecting patients,” Deputy District Attorney Sue Wilson said in a written statement.
The case was investigated by members of a task force made up of investigators with the state Department of Consumer Affairs and federal agents.