TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- In addition to the 81 licenses suspended last week, Florida State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong issued 80 more emergency suspension orders for massage therapists who allegedly obtained their licenses to practice through fraud.
As part of the ongoing investigation and partnerships with law enforcement and anti-human trafficking groups, Florida Department of Health officials say that it has been discovered that these individuals paid between $10,000-$15,000 to obtain fraudulent college certificates and transcripts.
The suspension orders prevent these individuals from continuing to practice massage therapy. To date, officials say that nearly 200 individuals have been identified as being involved in this fraudulent activity.
“The Department of Health is committed to retaining the integrity of the massage therapy industry here in Florida,” said Dr. Armstrong. “We will continue working with massage therapy schools and our various partners to ensure that this type of activity is not tolerated in our state.”
The Florida Department of Health is working with the Clearwater Human Trafficking Task Force and the South Florida Human Trafficking Task Force on a joint investigation of several Florida massage establishments, which began earlier this year.
The Department of Health licenses massage therapists, among 40 other professions, and approved massage therapy schools are dually regulated by the Florida Department of Education and the Department of Health.