Nursing home CNA arrested on certificate forgery charges

A certified nursing assistant was arrested this week for allegedly forging a certification that would allow her to work in New Jersey long-term care facilities.

Jennifer Pizzuti, 32, was told in 2015 that her 2-year Nurse Aide Certification from the New Jersey Department of Health had expired. She couldn't renew the certification until she “cleared up some outstanding issues” that disqualified her from renewal, according to the state attorney general's office.

Pizzuti then decided to “take matters into her own hands,” the office said, by forging her certification and giving it to her employer, R.J. Healthcare Services, a medical staffing agency. She was given work placements at two nursing homes and one assisted living facility before the forgery was discovered last June.

Pizzuti was taken into custody this week after a grand jury indicted her on charges of making a false government document, forgery, uttering a forged writing, uttering a false government document and falsifying or tampering with record. The charges carry a range of possible prison sentences of 18 months to 10 years, and between $10,000 and $150,000 in criminal fines.

“The insurance companies that provide coverage for elderly patients in long-term care facilities expect that patients are being provided quality care by qualified professionals who meet the standards set by the state,” said Acting Attorney General Robert Lougy in a statement. “Anyone who attempts to falsify their work credentials to circumvent those standards will be dealt with harshly.”