2010



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December 28, 2010
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Fake 'Nurse of the Year' sent to jail

Th ct post reports how a woman who pretended to be a nurse and even staged her own "Nurse of the Year" party in 2008 was sent to jail after pleading guilty to criminal impersonation, practicing nursing without a license and second-degree forgery.  As judicial marshals put handcuffs over her wrists to begin her nine-month sentence, Betty Lichtenstein, 57, mouthed the words "I love you" to her shaken daughter, Monica, sitting in the front row of a Norwalk courtroom.

A few minutes before the State Superior Court Judge pronounced the sentence, Lichtenstein -- who had no real training as a nurse, but dispensed medical advice and administered shots to patients as if she had a license -- apologized for what she had done.  "I know that what I did was very, very wrong. I am so sorry for what I did and I am so sorry if I endangered anyone," she told Hudock.  She went on to say that there is no chance that she would do anything like that again and she said that she took responsibility for what she had done.

After being investigated by the state Medicaid Fraud Control Unit between March and August 2009, Lichtenstein was charged with illegal use of the registered nurse title, six counts of second-degree reckless endangerment and criminal impersonation. Three months earlier, she was arrested for forging a prescription for pain killers she obtained while pretending to be a nurse for Dr. Gerald Weiss in Norwalk.

In November 2008, according to her arrest warrant affidavit, she received the Nurse of the Year award at a dinner supposedly hosted by the Connecticut Nursing Association. Investigators in the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Chief State's Attorney's Office determined no such organization exists and that she spent $2,000 to stage the event, the affidavit said.  Taking a plea agreement where she agreed to serve up to a year in jail, Lichtenstein this past summer pleaded guilty to the reduced charges; those she did not plead guilty to were all but dismissed.

During the sentencing hearing, her attorney acknowledged the case held a "bizarre" set of facts, many of which cannot be explained.  But he said Lichtenstein thought Weiss was complicit in the charade, especially because he was the keynote speaker at the phony awards dinner.  He also told Hudock that Lichtenstein was in very bad health and any sentence could be a "death sentence" for her. He said Lichtenstein had a pacemaker, a deteriorating heart muscle, congestive heart disease and diabetes.  Because of that, Urso said a three-year probation sentence with no jail time would ensure she does not endanger the public, while allowing her to keep what little remains of the rest of her life.

Supervisory Assistant State's Attorney Christopher Godialis, who was prosecuting the case, said Lichtenstein should be made to serve the full year in jail.  Hudock said he did not think any sentence would be a death sentence for Lichtenstein and his first obligation was community safety. He said those who go to nurses and doctors expect to get the best treatment possible from those who are qualified.  "By putting yourself up as something you were not and were never, you endangered the community," Hudock said.  He then gave her a five-year sentence, suspended after nine months served and followed by three years probation.

As a condition of her release after she serves the sentence, Hudock said Lichtenstein could have no contact with Weiss, his employees or his patients.  He also forbade her from seeking employment in any area related to the medical field and said she was to inform in writing any potential employer of her convictions, Hudock said.

As she was taken away, Urso handed judicial marshals a white plastic shopping bag containing about 20 medications to be sent with her to jail.  In the court hallway after the sentencing, Amy Marcus, a former employee of Weiss, said Hudock should have given her a full year in jail.  Marcus said she was forced to quit after Lichtenstein verbally abused her shortly before her arrest.  "I don't think the court has done justice and I am very disappointed in the Norwalk court system," she said

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| Referencing and Verification Services
December 23, 2010
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Tuition fees rise may increase risk of CV fraud, warns expert

Contraversial plans by the government to increase tuition fees could lead to an increase in bogus universities and a rise in the number of people buying fake degrees, a leading CV screening expert has warned.

Verifile claim in a recent statement that: "​"With regard to diploma mills, the government is not doing enough to fight it. We fear that pushing up the cost of UK education will only increase the demand for fake universities and encourage more people to use their bogus 'degrees ' as a way to improve chances of employment".

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| Education
December 8, 2010
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Increased tuition fees to boost fake degrees

Ahead of tomorrow’s House of Commons vote on tuition fees, CV verification and background screening expert, Verifile Limited, is concerned that an increase in tuition fees will lead to an increase in bogus universities and push more people to buy fake degrees from the criminals who run these organisations.

Verifile Limited owns Accredibase™, the world’s largest database of fake universities, or a “Diploma mill”. Since the release of the company’s comprehensive report in January, the number of confirmed bogus institutions** claiming to operate from the UK, has risen by an alarming 24%, taking the number of degree mills to 337 in the UK alone. In addition, a further 219 institutions are suspected mills and are currently under investigation. The majority of suspected mills are later confirmed as bogus upon completion of the investigation.

Eyal Ben Cohen, CEO of Verifile Limited said: “It’s clear that fake institutions are on the rise in the UK and the Government is not doing enough to fight it. In costly education systems like the USA, degree mills are everywhere. We fear that pushing up the cost of UK education will only increase the demand for fake universities and encourage more people to use their bogus ‘degrees’ as a way to improve chances of employment.” he continues: “Whilst the use of fake qualifications puts a candidate’s personal honesty and integrity in question, the damage to an employer can be far more significant as proved in a recent court case involving BSkyB and EDS. The case found a senior EDS manager and key witness to have lied about the origins of an MBA degree. The judge ruled that EDS should pay £709 million pounds to BSkyB.  It is hard to believe that candidates are not aware of what they are doing when they originally purchase their ‘degrees’ without taking classes or sitting in exams, yet tens of thousands of individuals are using degrees purchased from degree mills over the internet. And you find them from all walks of life from IT to security, health, education, management, government and more. If tuition fees are to increase, we must expect the incidence of fake degrees to also rise. Where the Government is not prepared to fight this problem effectively, it would be advisable for organisations to be more thorough when they carry out background checks”.

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