By Ashley Cox

MIAMI, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – A Miami federal grand jury returned an indictment charging two Lauderhill residents for their roles in a fraud conspiracy that sold fake nursing degrees to people who had not completed the required nursing coursework or clinicals.

According to the indictment and a previously filed criminal complaint affidavit, Geralda Adrien, 51, and Woosvelt Predestin, 35, worked for PowerfulU Health Care Services LLC.  Adrien was Powerful U’s President and Predestin was an employee. PowerfulU advertises itself on social media as a group of nurses and doctors who want to empower men and women by helping them to become health care providers.  It is alleged that Adrien and Predestin assisted various individuals in procuring fraudulent nursing diplomas and transcripts from two nursing schools in Florida by falsely documenting that the individuals had completed the necessary courses and/or clinicals to obtain nursing degrees.

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On March 18, 2021, for example, Adrien and Predestin met with an individual at the PowerfulU office and offered to sell the person a false degree, according to the criminal complaint affidavit.  It is alleged that during the meeting, Adrien explained that for $16,000, Adrien would process the applicant through a Florida nursing school that was either on probation or closed, making it appear as if the applicant had in fact attended the school.  Adrien also offered to help the individual pass the nursing board certification exam, and recommended that they take the exam in New York, as that state allows for unlimited attempts to pass.  Adrien offered to fill out the application for the individual and offered to complete two continuing education unit classes which were required to apply for admission to the New York nursing board, according to the affidavit.

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After the individual paid for the false nursing degree, it is alleged that Adrien provided a backdated diploma indicating completion of an Associate Degree in Science of Nursing and a fraudulent transcript that falsely reflected that the individual had completed approximately 72 credit hours and achieved a grade point average of 3.4.  The individual’s application for licensure, which Predestin helped complete, was later forwarded to the New York State Education Department, according to the affidavit.  It included a certification of completion two continuing educations courses-Child Abuse: New York Mandated Reporter Training and Infection Control and Barrier Precautions-that the individual had never taken.

The indictment charges Adrien and Predestin each with one count of conspiring to commit wire fraud and mail fraud.  They face up to 20 years in federal prison on each count.

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Juan Antonio Gonzalez, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Miami, and Omar Perez Aybar, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General, announced the charges.