GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A woman who authorities say has repeatedly used someone else’s credentials to get work as a nurse has pleaded guilty to federal charges.
Leticia Gallarzo, 49, of Allegan County, pleaded to making a false statement in a medical record affecting a health care benefit program and aggravated identity theft.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a release that Gallarzo faces up to seven years in prison: five for the health care fraud charge and a consecutive two for identity theft.
Federal investigators say that Gallarzo applied for a job at a Grand Rapids hospice care facility, lying about having a nursing degree, saying she was a licensed nurse and submitting an actual licensed nurse’s information as her own. Once on the job in May late, she signed Medicare forms as a licensed nurse.
The facility then fingerprinted her as part of the employment requirements and realized she had a history of convictions for pretending to be a nurse. That included one from 2016 in Kent County for using someone else’s identity to get a nursing job, one in 2015 in Texas for practicing nursing without a license and a federal conviction after pretending to be a registered nurse in Texas, also in 2015.
Gallarzo was fired from the hospice facility once the fingerprints revealed her history. But as quickly as June, she was back working at a nursing home, investigators said.
Sentencing for the new conviction has not yet been scheduled.