A Florida woman is accused of setting up a fake nursing school and defrauding 37 students out of more than $93,000, authorities said.
Michelle Renee Wimes, 33, of Vero Beach, was charged with organized fraud of more than $50,000, according to a news release from the Vero Beach Police Department and an arrest affidavit from the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office.
Vero Beach police Chief David Currey said Wimes, whom students knew as Michelle Hudson, defrauded 37 people who paid tuition to attend Grace Medical Training in Vero Beach, TCPalm.com reported. The scheme covered approximately 10 months, according to the news outlet.
The students attended classes for 10 months and even had a graduation party, WPEC-TV reported. Graduates received certificates that looked genuine, but the Florida Department of Education said that the school was unlicensed and had been told to close, the television station reported.
The lack of certification prevented the graduates from taking the National Council Licensure Examination, a standardized test for nurses required to become licensed, the police said in its release.
Currey said his department opened an investigation in July after receiving complaints from several students, WPTV reported.
Wimes was released after posting $30,000 bail, online records show.