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Nursing professor taught with forged licenses for years, Nassau DA says

Sophia Clarke of New Hyde Park had taught at Adelphi University and Borough of Manhattan Community College.

Sophia Clarke of New Hyde Park was arrested

Sophia Clarke of New Hyde Park was arrested and arraigned Wednesday. Photo Credit: NCDA

A New Hyde Park woman taught nursing at Adelphi University and Borough of Manhattan Community College for several years after her nursing licenses had been revoked because of a criminal conviction, a prosecutor said Thursday.

Sophia Clarke, 48, was released on her own recognizance after being arrested and arraigned Wednesday, the Nassau County district attorney’s office said. She faces up to 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison if convicted on a felony grand larceny charge.

“Because of their lifesaving role in our healthcare system, it’s essential that only licensed professionals be allowed to teach nursing to students,” District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement.

Valid nursing licenses are required to teach at both schools, Singas said.

State records show Clarke lost her registered professional nurse and nurse practitioner licenses on Feb. 14, 2012, after her conviction on a misdemeanor charge of offering a false instrument for filing.

In 2008, Clarke was indicted and arrested, charged with conspiring to obtain Medicaid services for someone in her house by falsifying documents, according to the state attorney general’s office.

The following year, she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for filing a false instrument, admitting she misled case managers to obtain money or services she did not qualify for, the prosecutors said.

Sentenced to three years of probation, Clarke also repaid the state $36,116.23, they said.

Adelphi hired Clarke in August 2012 and she provided the Garden City school with copies of licenses with April 2014 expiration dates, Singas said. In April and May of 2014 she submitted forged licenses with 2017 expiration dates, Singas said.

Adelphi spokesman Todd Wilson in a statement said the university learned an adjunct nursing teacher had presented credentials that were later revoked, a development not reported to the university.

“The faculty member was immediately terminated,” he said, and Adelphi reported the teacher to the state licensing organization.

“We’re letting the students know about the situation,” he said, which appears to be an “isolated incident.”

Wilson continued: “We investigated to make sure we were in compliance with credentialing requirements, and found no other issues; going forward, additional care will be taken to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”

Clarke began teaching nursing at Borough of Manhattan Community College in August 2011 and continued teaching there without informing the school of her conviction, Singas said. She had been scheduled to begin teaching her next class later this month, but the school has placed her on leave.

In a statement, the college said it “is working with the law enforcement authority.”

“Ms. Clarke has been placed on administrative assignment and will not be assigned to teaching duties as the matter is pursued internally,” the statement said.

Once the college has gathered all the facts and the investigation is finished, it will assess any additional measures that might be needed, a spokesman said by telephone.

The colleges and the state Board of Education helped with the investigation, Singas said.

Clarke was also charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument and scheme to defraud, both felonies. She is scheduled to be back in First District Court in Hempstead on Sept. 14.

Clarke’s lawyer, Oscar Holt III of Hempstead, did not return calls for comment.

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