Leticia Gallarzo, 43, will serve 14 months in federal prison for posing as a registered nurse to gain employment
A woman with no medical training who faked being a registered nurse to get jobs in Texas will serve 14 months in federal prison.
Leticia Gallarzo, 43, pleaded guilty to five counts of making false statements related to health care and was sentenced Tuesday in Victoria.
Gallarzo, who is a former resident of Goliad, Texas, must also pay more than $34,000 in restitution.
During 2015, she worked at two hospitals and three nursing homes in different Texas cities using a registered nursing license number that belonged to someone with a similar name.
When the medical facilities got suspicious of the fraud, Gallarzo would leave and immediately find nursing work in another city.
At last week’s hearing, Gallarzo admitted she had knowingly lied about being a registered nurse on five occasions to gain employment she was not qualified for.
Yoakum Community Hospital (pictured) is one of the five medical facilities Gallarzo worked at when she posed as a registered nurse
According to court documents, she posed as a registered nurse from March 15 to October 23 in 2015 at La Bahia Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Goliad, Palacios Community Hospital, Yoakum Community Hospital, Yorktown Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and Twin Pines North Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Victoria.
The FBI and the Texas Attorney General’s Office-Medicaid Fraud Control Unit conducted the investigation with the help of police departments in Goliad and Victoria.
She was arrested on October 31, 2015 and has remained in custody.
Debbie Pena, a member of the Texas Nurses Association, told the Victoria Advocate: ‘When a person says she is a nurse and she is not, then it has the potential to damage the integrity of the nursing profession.’
One must complete an accredited nursing program and then pass a state board exam to earn their registration.
It’s unclear how Gallarzo performed at each of her nursing jobs as none of the facilities where she worked were available for comment.