VERO BEACH, Fla. – Police say an Indian River County woman ran a fake medical school and defrauded more than three dozen students out of at least $93,000.
Michelle Vimes, 33, who is also known as Michelle Hudson, was arrested on Tuesday for organized fraud in the amount of $50,000.
Police said Wimes owned and operated Grace Med Training, located in the 1400 block of Old Dixie Highway in Vero Beach.
According to Police Chief David Currey, the Vero Beach Police Department received complaints in July from numerous people who said they were tricked into enrolling in Wimes’ “fraudulent medical school.”
The school offered medical training courses including CPR, home health aiding, medical assistant, phlebotomy, certified nursing and practical nursing programs.
Currey said that when graduates went to take the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX, to obtain their nursing licenses, they were unable to because they did not attend an approved and accredited school.
“They’ve completed their education. And to get your certification, to get certified by the state through the Department of Education, you have to take the NCLEX,” Currey said. “When they went to take the test, they basically realized that the certification or the training they had received was not legitimate.”
PRESS RELEASE – Organized Fraud > $50,000 (Case #2022-1383)
See attached press release
Investigators encourage anyone who believes they may have been victimized in connection with Grace Med Training to contact Detective Kyle Eder at (772) 978-4665 or [email protected] pic.twitter.com/BGvNWBaP10
— Vero Beach Police (@VeroBeachPD) October 19, 2022
Currey said the police department confirmed with the Florida Commission on Independent Education that neither Wimes nor Grace Med Training are licensed to provide any type of medical training.
In all, Currey said Wimes defrauded at least 37 victims out of $93,895.
Currey said “qualified instructors” teach at the school and face no charges in the case.
“Basically, for lack of better words, they were also cheated,” Currey said.
The police chief added that Wimes was likely trying to open another fake medical school in Port St. Lucie before she was arrested.
The police department is now working on restitution to get the victims their money back.
“Unfortunately, sometimes it’s easier said than done. But we’re going to try to do it for the victims,” Currey said. “We have every 37 victims, how much they paid. Documents showing what they paid.”
Wimes surrendered to authorities around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and was released from the Indian River County Jail about four hours later.
Currey said Wimes has retained an attorney and has not commented to police.
Anyone who thinks they may have been a victim of Grace Med Training should contact Det. Kyle Eder at 772 978-4665 or [email protected]