In spring 2019, a curious piece of information landed at the FBI's Baltimore field office. An informant said that for about $17,000, a recruiter in nearby Laurel, Md., had offered to provide a diploma and a fake transcript from a Florida nursing school, along with tutoring for the nurse licensing exam - without the need to actually take courses or receive clinical training.

That tip has mushroomed into an ongoing search for bogus nurses that spans all 50 states, D.C., Canada and parts of the Caribbean. It has resulted in the indictments of 25 people on wire fraud charges and a continued investigation of additional schools that may be offering the same fraudulent arrangement. Ten people have reached plea agreements with prosecutors.