Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Ex-Pasco-Hernando Community College teacher with forged nursing license pleads guilty

NEW PORT RICHEY — Sandra Wilbanks taught medical courses at Pasco-Hernando Community College for 18 years before anyone noticed her nursing license was a forgery.

Once that came to light last spring, an investigation began, Wilbanks abruptly retired — and then was arrested.

Earlier this month, the 60-year-old Shady Hills woman resolved her criminal case, pleading guilty to a felony charge of forgery, a lesser crime than she originally faced.

She received 18 months of probation and had adjudication of guilt withheld, meaning she is technically not a felon. She has no other arrests in Florida.

Wilbanks began teaching at the community college full time in 1990 in its technical certificate credit program. She earned rave reviews from students in courses like phlebotomy and medical language.

She did not teach nursing courses. The state does not require a nursing license for the technical courses Wilbanks taught, though the college does.

And every few years, college officials said, Wilbanks would provide a photocopy of her updated registered nurse's license.

But in the spring of 2008, as PHCC was going through re-accreditation, a clerk plugged Wilbanks' nursing license number into the state database and came up with someone else's name.

The discrepancy prompted the school to contact the state Department of Health, which investigated and called the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.

The college said Wilbanks got away with her deed because she was hired before many records were maintained online. PHCC officials said at the time that employees' credentials are now routinely verified at the time they're hired.

Wilbanks, who could not be reached Wednesday, earned an associate's degree in applied science in nursing from Central Piedmont Community College in North Carolina in 1978, a credential verified by PHCC. She also had an RN license in that state but saw it revoked in 1989 after an investigation revealed she had improperly obtained hospital drugs.

A few years after she began teaching in Florida, she wrote to North Carolina officials seeking to have her license reinstated. They laid out a plan for her, but she never followed up.

She earned about $45,000 a year as an instructor, according to PHCC. She also accrued benefits under the Florida Retirement System, estimated to be $1,015.78 per month, but it is unclear whether she will ever see that money.

Her arrest put her state pension in peril because retirement benefits can be forfeited when employees are convicted of certain felonies.

That includes theft from an employer, according to the Florida Department of Management Services. The state has not yet decided whether Wilbanks' conviction puts her in that category.

Molly Moorhead can be reached at moorhead@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6245.

Ex-Pasco-Hernando Community College teacher with forged nursing license pleads guilty 04/29/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 29, 2009 7:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trump sprinkles political attacks into Scout Jamboree speech

    GLEN JEAN, W.Va. — Ahead of President Donald Trump's appearance Monday at the National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, the troops were offered some advice on the gathering's official blog: Fully hydrate. Be "courteous" and "kind." And avoid the kind of divisive chants heard during the 2016 campaign such as "build …

    President Donald Trump addresses the Boy Scouts of America's 2017 National Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve in Glen Jean, W.Va., July 24, 2017. [New York Times]
  2. Trump, seething about attorney general, speculates about firing Sessions, sources say

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has spoken with advisers about firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as he continues to rage against Sessions' decision to recuse himself from all matters related to the Russia investigation.

  3. John McCain to return to Senate for health care vote

    WASHINGTON — The Senate plans to vote Tuesday to try to advance a sweeping rewrite of the nation's health-care laws with the last-minute arrival of Sen. John McCain — but tough talk from President Donald Trump won no new public support from skeptical GOP senators for the flagging effort that all but …

  4. Last orca calf born in captivity at a SeaWorld park dies

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — The last killer whale born in captivity under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program died Monday at the company's San Antonio, Texas, park, SeaWorld said.

    Thet orca Takara helps guide her newborn, Kyara, to the water's surface at SeaWorld San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas, in April. Kyara was the final killer whale born under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program. The Orlando-based company says 3-month-old Kyara died Monday. [Chris Gotshall/SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment via AP]
  5. Blake Snell steps up, but Rays lose to Orioles anyway (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell stepped up when he had to Monday and delivered an impressive career-high seven-plus innings for the Rays. That it wasn't enough in what ended up a 5-0 loss to the Orioles that was their season-high fifth straight is symptomatic of the mess they are in right now.

    Tim Beckham stands hands on hips after being doubled off first.