After buying fraudulent diploma, Iowa man worked for years as a nurse

A Central Iowa man worked as a state licensed nurse for four years after earning a fraudulent nursing degree from an alleged diploma factory, according to state regulators.

In January 2018, Enome Massango of West Des Moines submitted an application to the Iowa Board of Nursing to be licensed as an LPN, or licensed practical nurse. At the time, he said he attended a 17-month practical nursing education program at the National School of Nursing and Allied Health in Virginia. The board approved his application and granted him an LPN license in April 2018.

In June 2020, Massango submitted another application to the board, this time for a registered nurse license. According to state records, he reported that he graduated from Siena College of Health in Florida in June 2019. He submitted a copy of his diploma and a transcript showing attendance at the school for a period of 15 months.

Exactly one year later, after Massango passed the National Council Licensure Examination in Iowa, the Board of Directors granted Massango an RN license.

Six weeks later, a national organization of state nursing agencies notified the Iowa board of directors of an FBI investigation into nursing training programs suspected of selling counterfeit diplomas and transcripts, typically for $6,000 to $18,000. Suspects in the case included the National School of Nursing and Allied Health and the Siena College of Health.

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By the time the Iowa board was notified, the states of Virginia and Florida had long since ordered the two institutions to shut down.

An Iowa Board of Nursing investigator contacted Massango, who reportedly said he paid $11,000 to the National School of Nursing and Allied Health. He initially claimed to have completed his coursework at the school in 2017, but could not explain why his transcripts showed a completion date of 2013, which was before the school was forced to close.

According to the board, Massango also said he paid Siena College $16,000 for his nursing education.

After further discussions with the board investigator, Massango allegedly admitted that he had paid a man named Musa Bangura for the transcripts and diplomas as a “shortcut” to completing his education.

The school was a one-day “review course”

At an April hearing before the Iowa Board of Nursing, Massango reportedly said he initially pursued a nursing degree at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa before being “kicked out” of the program for failing the mental health course had passed.

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According to the board, he also acknowledged that his training program as a licensed practical nurse consisted of a one-day “refresher course.” As for the RN program at Siena College, he reportedly conceded that there was no coursework associated with the program, adding that he “basically had to study on his own.”

Board records show that Massango had to take the LPN exam twice and the RN exam four times before passing the tests. At the hearing, Massango reportedly said he currently works as a “traveling nurse” and is also employed by the Colorado Mental Health Institute.

After the hearing, the board concluded that Massango had committed fraud when he knowingly purchased fraudulent documents to qualify for an Iowa license. Massango, according to the board, “received little to no instruction and did not undertake clinical training.”

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The board recently revoked Massango’s LPN and RN licenses.

While admitted to Iowa, Massango worked at Valley View Village, an assisted living center and nursing home in Des Moines. Federal tax records show he worked an average of 64 hours per week there in 2019 and earned more than $114,000 in salaries as an LPN.

According to federal court filings, the U.S. Department of Justice has criminally charged Bangura, Patrick Nwaokwu and Johanah Napoleon with conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and conspiracy to provide false health information.

In court filings, prosecutors allege that the National School of Nursing and Allied Health operated as a nursing school from 2008 to 2013. At this point, Nwaokwu and Bangura continued to operate the business unlawfully as a place for people to buy fake transcripts and certificates, which were backdated to 2013.

The two were also accused of working with Napoleon in Florida to sell diplomas through Siena College after that school closed.

Criminal proceedings are pending and no trial date has been set.

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