BYLINE: Loretta Park, Standard-Examiner, Ogden, Utah
Feb. 10–FARMINGTON — A 23-year-old Clinton woman faked her diplomas and transcripts to get a nursing license so she would not disappoint her family, her defense attorney said Monday.
Julie George said Alecia Danielle Grimes was the top of her class in high school and “there was a lot of pressure for her to go into a particular field.”
But when Grimes did not pass the necessary tests, instead of admitting it to her family, she altered her transcripts to get fake diplomas in order to get a nursing license, George said in a sentencing hearing before Judge Michael Allphin.
George said Grimes has volunteered to have “every data base in the country” be aware she never got a nursing license and has agreed to never work in the nursing field.
Allphin sentenced Grimes to serve 180 days in the Davis County Jail and to serve three years probation with Adult Probation & Parole.
Deputy Davis County Attorney Nathan Lyon said if it had not been for a Division of Occupational and Professional investigator, Grimes could still be working as a nurse. The investigator did not accept Grimes’ claim that her diploma from Sand Diego City College was authentic and checked with the school.
Lyon said Grimes confessed the diploma was fake after she was confronted with proof that she had not even enrolled in the college.
Lyon said Grimes had even provided the diploma and transcripts to the court when she had entered in abeyance pleas to two third-degree felonies in April.
“She lied to the state and she lied to this court,” Lyon said.
Grimes had entered a plea in abeyance to a third-degree felony issuing a bad check and also to one count of third-degree felony communication fraud in April of 2013. When the new charges were filed that was a violation of the plea in abeyance program and those pleas were changed to guilty pleas in November when she entered guilty pleas to the new charges.
Grimes had pleaded guilty in November to four counts of forgery, third-degree felonies; and two counts of unlawful occupational or professional conduct, one count a third-degree felony and one count a class A misdemeanor.
The state Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing learned of the deception shortly after Grimes was hired to work as a nurse with Hillcrest Care Center in Sandy.
The care center did a background check on Grimes and learned about the in abeyance pleas.
According to a DOPL citation document, Grimes had applied for a nursing license in Utah but was denied due to the felony charge.
DOPL did an investigation and found that she had received a “temporary permit through Wisconsin fraudulently” by claiming she had a degree from San Diego City College, according to the DOPL citation.
Prosecutors said Grimes had gone to a website called “nextdaydiploma.com” and ordered a fake diploma and fake transcript to show she had graduated from nursing.
According to the DOPL document, Grimes had never attended the California college. But she used the documents to take the state nursing test. She failed the state test and then changed the grade and date on the documents to get a temporary license as a licensed practical nurse, according to the court charging document.
She had worked at the care center for a few days before the deception was discovered.