INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) —An Indiana woman has been charged with posing as a nurse without a nursing license, This is the second time this year.
According to the court records, Ashley N. Johnson was charged in May for giving false statements about health care and aggravated identity theft.
Johnson allegedly stole the nursing license numbers of two nurses who were both named Ashley Johnson and applied for nursing positions.
Prosecutors say that Johnson was hired at the Clearvista Lake Health Campus nursing home in April using the license number of a real nurse with the same name.
Once she was hired by the facility she administered the wrong medication to a patient. The facility discovered the error after the incident.
The facility checked her background before hire and found everything to be in order. On April 25, there was an update on Ms. Johnson by the company that originally conducted the background check, and the facility was informed that Ms. Johnson was not a registered nurse and that she had apparently lied on her application.
The facility then filled out a complaint with the Indiana Attorney General’s office and the fake nurse was suspended, then terminated when they confirmed she had given false licensure information.
When the investigative team called the woman she admitted her name was Ashley Johnson, but she denied any involvement, even though she has agreed to plead guilty in court.
“I was questioned about it, but it’s not true,” the woman said, also denying that she has agreed to plead guilty to charges.
The court records indicate that Ashley N. Johnson is not a registered nurse, nor did she graduate nursing school.
Josh Minkler, the U.S Attorney said, “It’s a serious problem and hopefully the prosecution of cases like this addresses it."
Minkler went on to say that this is the second time a fake nurse has gained employment and worked as a registered nurse in the last six months.
Just a few months ago, Holly Whyde stole a nurse named Holly Aumick's identity and falsified statements related to health care.
The main reason this is happening in Indiana is because the online nursing license renewal system allows for anyone who has the nurse's license number, (which is public record) and the last four digits of the social security number to renew a nursing license.
Other states have specific usernames and passwords that are required before a nurse can renew their license.
“I was not aware of this happening prior to this year, I can’t remember if ever happening. So the fact that it’s happened twice in such a short time period is a concern to me and something we are going to look into.”
Minkler said that discovering two cases like this within six months shows that, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are “onto the scheme.”
The real Ashley N. Johnson, a registered nurse, said she never worked for Clearvista Lake Health nor had she ever applied to work there.
She found out about it when the FBI called her in April to let her know that her nursing license identity had been stolen, she blew it off as a scam.
“I didn’t realize it was such a big thing for identity theft with our medical licenses,” Ashley N. Johnson, the registered nurse, told I-Team 8. “I was hoping that this lady hadn’t done anything crazy that I would have to go to court over or just defend myself as if ‘that’s not me.'”
The Indiana Board of Nursing has been under investigation recently because they allowed 60 nurses to do automatic renewal when the nurses were actually facing criminal charges and were facing disciplinary action by the board.