Liberia – Spoon CEO Witherspoon Hooked in U.S.$114m Healthcare Fraud

… His alleged crimes contain him collaborating in a wire fraud scheme that created an unlawful licensing and employment shortcut for aspiring nurses, and would land him in jail for 20 years if established responsible and property forfeiture, if any.

Prosecutors inside the US state of Florida have charged a Liberian media mogul, Stanton Witherspoon, alongside with about two dozen others, of fraudulently promoting over 7,600 bogus nursing certificates, which netted him and his accomplices a whopping US$114 million.

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His alleged crimes contain him collaborating in a wire fraud scheme that created an unlawful licensing and employment shortcut for aspiring nurses, and would land him in jail for 20 years if established responsible and property forfeiture, if any.

Under US regulation, he and his co-conspirators are presumed harmless till established responsible, despite the fact that the scheme had been occurring since 2018 — lasting for almost six years.

Witherspoon, notwithstanding, in a announcement yesterday famous that he has an awful lot to say, he’s being restricted by his legal professionals from going into extra particulars.

“While I am very aware of your desire to get even more details on these charges, I can only appeal to you all to let the investigation and legal process play out,” stated Witherspoon, the proprietor of Liberia’s largest non-public media community, Spoon Communications Network.

“While temptation pushes me to handle this matter in far greater element, I should abide by my authorized group’s guidelines. There is a higher being who orders our paths and steps, absolutely mine.

While Witherspoon has not denied the authenticity of the indictment, a grand jury has indicted him alongside with Alfred Sellu Rene Bernadel and greater than two dozen persons for conspiring to commit and committing wire fraud.

The total scheme, the indictment stated, concerned the distribution of greater than 7,600 pretend nursing diplomas issued by three South Florida-based nursing colleges: Siena College in Broward County, Fla., Palm Beach School of Nursing in Palm Beach County, Fla., and Sacred Heart International Institute in Broward County.

According to the indictment, Witherspoon used his business enterprise, the Nursing Education Resource Center (NERC), which was established in Newport, Delaware, to shop for a 50% stake in Siena Education Center and Siena College (collectively Siena) after which conspired together with his co-accused to promote fraudulent nursing diploma diplomas and transcripts.

The pretend {qualifications} had been offered to persons in search of licenses and jobs as registered nurses (RNs) and licensed functional/vocational nurses (LPN/VNs), the USA Attorney’s Office inside the Southern District of Florida claimed.

The charging files describe Siena College, which Witherspoon owns and 50 percentage share in, as a Broward County faculty licensed by the Florida Commission for Independent Education and the Florida Board of Nursing that presents a Practical Nursing Program and an RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program.

The Liberian media mogul’s principal co-conspirator, Eugene Sanon, managed Siena College, the indictment stated.

The indictment alleges that Witherspoon, and his co-accused offered 1000’s of faux Siena College nursing diplomas and academic transcripts to nursing candidates who used them to get hold of RN or LPN/VN licenses in varied states and nursing jobs with unwitting fitness care vendors all the way through the kingdom.

These pretend files represented that the aspiring RN and LPN/VN candidates had attended Siena College’s nursing program in Broward County and accomplished the required guides and clinicals to get hold of RN or LPN/VN diplomas,” the Indictment famous.

“It was the purpose of the conspiracy for the defendants and their co-conspirators to unlawfully enrich themselves by, among other things, soliciting and recruiting co-conspirators, via interstate wire communications, and seeking nursing credentials to obtain employment as an RN or LPN/VN in the healthcare field,” Witherspoon’s indictment alleged.

The doc added that Witherspoon and his co-accused “created and distributed, via interstate wire communications, false and fraudulent diplomas and transcripts for co-conspirators seeking RN or LPN/VN licensure and employment; while using the proceeds of the conspiracy for “their private use and gain, the use and gain of others, and to added the conspiracy.”

“Not only is this a public safety concern, it also tarnishes the reputation of nurses who actually complete the demanding clinical and course work required to obtain their professional licenses and employment,” stated U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Markenzy Lapointe, who added that “a fraud scheme like this erodes public trust in our healthcare system.”

Witherspoon, who himself is a licensed functional nurse (LPN), works at Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, and is linked to the Lee Training Institute inside the state of Delaware as a Nursing Director, in accordance to data on his LinkedIn web page.

He has additionally labored as a LPN at a massive nursing contractual company referred to as Bayada and claims to be a pastor, freelance multimedia journalist, digital strategist and intellectual fitness fanatic.

Meanwhile, information of the Witherspoon indictment has shocked the kingdom, thinking about his sphere of affect by way of his media conglomerate.

Even the outgoing president of the Press Union of Liberia, Charles B. Coffey, Jr., has weighed in, describing the improvement as troubling and worrisome.

“I have read the indictment. As per the records of the United States Court system, the issue of wire fraud, breaching medical practices policy, operating fake educational institutions allegedly is troubling, worrisome,” he stated. “It borders on integrity and credibility.”

“He needs to do the needful by proving his innocence, if so. It is very important for him to ensure speedy trial because he has been using his media to preach integrity, and fight against corruption in Liberia. This situation also has the propensity to undermine public trust in the Liberian media,” Coffey stated.

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