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Nurse Impostor: Michigan Woman Pleads Guilty After Pretending To Be a Licensed Nurse… Again

Ann Feeney, CAE
by
Updated November 27, 2023
Edited by
    A Michigan woman pleads guilty after pretending to be a licensed nurse for the second time. Find out what consequences she faces.
    Nurse pushing patient down hospital hallwayCredit: Getty Images
    • Leticia Gallarzo, 48, of Allegan County, Michigan, has pleaded guilty to identity theft and wire fraud for claiming to be a registered nurse.
    • Gallarzo is accused of stealing a licensed nurse’s identity and working as a fake nurse at two healthcare facilities.
    • She was previously convicted for practicing nursing without a license in Texas in 2017.

    Michigan Woman Pleads Guilty to Posing as a Nurse for the Second Time

    Leticia Gallarzo has been charged with identity theft and wire fraud for posing as a registered nurse. She stole the identity of a licensed nurse and claimed to have a master of science in nursing (MSN) degree. This is Gallarzo’s second such offense; In 2017, she pled guilty to practicing nursing without a license in Texas.

    In May 2023, Gallarzo was hired by a nursing agency and worked in a nursing home in Michigan. She presented the credentials of a nurse with the same first name but a different last name. She submitted her fingerprints for a required state background check, and on May 23, her previous conviction was reported from the background check.

    On September 27, Gallarzo was charged with wire fraud, two counts of aggravated identity theft, two counts of making false statements in medical records affecting health care benefit programs, and the production of a false identification document.

    In a press release, U.S. Attorney Mark Totten described the charges as “highly concerning” and noted that Gallarzo “potentially put innocent patients at risk.” Gallarzo pleaded guilty on November 7.

    She has not yet been sentenced.

    Gallarzo was first convicted of being a nurse impostor in 2017. She claimed to be a registered nurse and worked as a fake nurse at five locations over seven months. After each location discovered the impostor, she started work at another. She pled guilty to five counts of making false statements relating to healthcare and was sentenced to prison and ordered to pay restitution.

    Some nurse impostors have worked for years with falsified licenses. One such nurse impostor, Bobbie Blair, successfully pretended to be a licensed practical nurse for 15 years. Another long-term nurse impostor, Alieu Drammeh, had his nursing license rescinded but stole other nurses’ identities to continue his career, even working as a nurse director. As of 2022, Brigitte Cleroux had 67 convictions, including convictions for nurse imposture. Cleroux worked as a fake nurse in the United States and Canada and even administered fentanyl.

    If you suspect someone is a nurse impostor, contact your state board of nursing. Some states list nurse impostors on their websites.