weather icon Clear

Henderson woman arrested, accused of posing as registered nurse

On paper, police say, it certainly looked like Mary Ann Southard was a nurse with years of experience treating patients.

Now, authorities say it was all fake.

Investigators arrested the 40-year-old Henderson woman last week on suspicion of posing as a nurse when she didn’t have a license. Authorities said Southard has confessed to assuming the identity of a real nurse in New York, then generating a string of false documents that allowed her to secure jobs as a nurse at medical facilities in the Las Vegas Valley and elsewhere.

“Since 2009, Southard has pretended to be a registered nurse and worked as a purported registered nurse in diverse medical settings in Nevada and South Carolina,” a Las Vegas police detective wrote in an arrest report. “These medical providers include surgery centers, emergency rooms, doctor’s office, and hospitals.

“While posing as a nurse, she has assessed patients, performed medical treatments, and administered controlled substances, among other tasks. Once hired, Southard received professional access to patients, administered invasive physical care and medications, and received access to patients’ sensitive, private and confidential medical records.”

Clark County Detention Center records indicate that Southard was booked at the jail Wednesday on three counts of acting as a nurse without a license resulting in substantial bodily harm, obtaining and using personal identity information of another to cause harm, and two counts of theft greater than $3,500.

Las Vegas Justice Court records indicate that no criminal complaint has been filed in the case. Southard was released from the jail on her own recognizance Thursday as part of an agreement that dictates she stay away from any medical facilities unless for personal medical treatment.

Court records indicate that a court date was set for May 20 for a status hearing on whether a criminal complaint will be filed.

Southard could not be reached for comment Friday. A phone call to a number listed for Southard went unanswered. She does not have an attorney of record.

‘Fraudulent documents’

Police said the investigation started in February when they received a letter from the Nevada Board of Nursing “reference a person by the name of Mary Ann Southard who was practicing nursing without a license.”

“The letter stated Southard has used another licensee’s name and fraudulent documents to gain employment as a registered nurse in the Las Vegas Valley,” according to her arrest report.

Police met with the Board of Nursing, which provided detectives with documentation. Police then interviewed a man who works as a business director for a company called Nutridrip, which was planning to open an IV vitamin infusion business at a Las Vegas Strip hotel. The man told police he interviewed Southard in November after she applied for a job as a registered nurse with the company.

According to her arrest report, Southard boasted during the interview about working at Centennial Hills Hospital Medical Center from 2009-12 as an emergency room nurse manager. Southard also, at the time of the interview, had been employed for a little more than a year at Naturopathic Medical Specialists.

The interviewer was impressed with Southard’s credentials, but the arrest report states that in December, he found that “Southard’s license was listed as revoked on the Nevada State Board of Nursing website.” The official with Nutridrip then confronted Southard, according to the report, and she fired off an email attempting to explain the situation.

“My license was issued under my married name in 2009,” she wrote. “I left Nevada in 2012 and later that year the state board found that someone was working in Nevada using my license.”

Police later determined that her explanation was false. She never graduated from nursing school, according to her arrest report, and she created a fake Illinois nursing license, which she used to obtain a Nevada nursing license in 2009.

She also created a fake “St. Anthony’s College of Nursing School transcript,” which was provided to the Nevada Board of Nursing, according to the report.

The board ultimately learned that the documents she had submitted to the agency were fraudulent and revoked her license, but not before “Southard admitted she used her fraudulent nursing license to obtain a position as a registered nurse at Centennial Hills Hospital” from 2009-12. A spokeswoman for the hospital could not be reached for comment Friday.

Police, as part of their investigation, interviewed a physician at Naturopathic Medical Specialists in Las Vegas. Police were told that Southard was hired at the facility on West Cheyenne Avenue and worked there for a little more than a year before the medical office learned from the Nevada Board of Nursing that she was not licensed.

According to her arrest report, Southard had obtained the job through fraudulent means by providing a nursing license under the name of a New York nurse who held a legitimate license in Nevada, then claiming the woman’s name as her maiden name.

“Southard claimed her license was under her maiden name,” the report states.

‘Accepted full responsibility’

Police then interviewed an official with Sound Physicians, which confirmed that it hired Southard in approximately July 2017 to work at St. Rose Dominican Hospital, San Martin campus, after she used the nursing license under the New York nurse’s name and again claimed that the license was issued under her maiden name. Southard also provided a copy of a Hawaii marriage certificate, according to her arrest report, to show that the license was issued under her maiden name.

“At the time, Sound Physicians did not know Southard was providing fraudulent information and they were unaware Southard was using the registered nursing name and license number of another to gain employment,” the report states.

In May 2018, Sound Physicians received an anonymous letter indicating that Southard did not have a license. According to police, an extensive investigation by Sound Physicians unveiled the fraud. She was dismissed, and again the Board of Nursing was contacted.

“Sound Physicians is a contract medical group that provides valuable services within areas of our hospital,” Gordon Absher, spokesman for Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican Hospitals, said in a statement Friday. “San Martin hospital will continue to cooperate fully in this investigation.”

According to her arrest report, Southard also was hired in 2012 as an emergency room registered nurse at Coastal Carolina Medical Center in South Carolina. The report states that she applied for the position as a travel nurse through Millenia Medical “and represented herself as a registered nurse.”

Southard was in the orientation process at the hospital when an administrator noticed inconsistencies regarding her education, according to the report, and she was fired.

Las Vegas police interviewed the New York nurse who had a legitimate nursing license in Nevada. The woman told police that “she does not know a person by the name of Mary Ann Southard.”

Police then contacted Coronado Surgery Center in Henderson and confirmed that Southard briefly worked there before administrators learned that the materials she submitted in her job application were fraudulent, according to her arrest report. A statement provided to the Las Vegas Review-Journal from Coronado on Friday said Southard was promptly terminated.

According to police, she confessed before her arrest.

“Southard provided a full confession of her wrong doings and accepted full responsibility for her actions,” the detective wrote. “Southard was cooperative and apologized for her actions. Southard said she was a nursing student in 2006, but she never graduated from nursing school due to a relationship she was in at the time. Southard got the idea to create fraudulent documents when she moved out to Nevada, and she thought she would not get caught.”

Contact Glenn Puit at gpuit@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0390. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Crime Videos
Pahrump man accused of killing roommate in fight over drugs - VIDEO
A Pahrump man was arrested Saturday after the Nye County Sheriff’s Office said he killed his roommate during a fight over drugs. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
Las Vegas Strip hotels to honor slain trooper Thursday night - VIDEO
A tribute to honor the life of slain Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Ben Jenkins is scheduled for Thursday night on the Strip. (James Schaeffer and Chase Stevens / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police seek help in identifying central valley robbery suspect - VIDEO
Police investigate apparent murder-suicide
Las Vegas police investigate an apparent murder-suicide in the 3900 block of Chasing Heart Way on Saturday, March 28, 2020. (Ellen Schmidt/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Slain NHP trooper escorted by hundreds of police cars to coroner’s office - VIDEO
Law enforcement vehicles escorted Nevada Highway Patrol Sgt. Benjamin Jenkins’ body as it was driven to the Clark County coroner’s office Friday night. (James Schaeffer and Le'Andre Fox / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police investigating after man found shot on street in Henderson - VIDEO
A 22-year-old man was found shot to death on a residential street in Henderson on Friday afternoon, police said. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada Highway Patrol Fatal Shooting of Trooper - VIDEO
Nevada Highway Patrol press conference on the incident involving a trooper who was shot and killed during a traffic stop Friday morning.
Las Vegas police investigate after man's body found in park - VIDEO
Lt. Ray Spencer briefs the media about a possible homicide at Silverado Ranch Park on Thursday, March 26, 2020. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Clark County sheriff, DA talk about crime during coronavirus crisis - VIDEO
The latest on crime and police response during the coronavirus pandemic. Here are some of the takeaways from Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo and Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson. (Renee Summerour and MIchael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Juvenile shot, injured by Las Vegas police in east valley - VIDEO
A Las Vegas police officer shot a juvenile Friday night in the east valley, the Metropolitan Police Department said. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Armed robbery in central Las Vegas - VIDEO
Surveillance video of a March 12, 2020, armed robbery at a business in the 800 block of North Decatur Boulevard (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Man gets 30 years to life in Las Vegas rape and murder - VIDEO
Charles Talley, who was convicted of rape and murder, tried to blame the 2018 death of Kelly Deanne Kazoon, 55, on a seizure as he was sentenced to prison Thursday, March 5, 2020. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police seeking woman in connection with armed robbery - VIDEO
(James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Woman was sentenced to life in prison for helping kill a disabled man - VIDEO
On Monday, March 2, District Judge Michelle Leavitt ordered Jennifer Mustachia to serve life behind bars without the possibility of parole for the slaying of 47-year-old Edward Turner inside his east valley home in 2015. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police looking for Sun City robbery suspect - VIDEO
Police are seeking help in identifying a man suspected of robbing a business located on Del Webb Boulevard. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Real estate broker Scott Gragson pleads guilty in fatal DUI case - VIDEO
Real estate broker Scott Gragson pleaded guilty Friday in his fatal DUI case and is expected to spend several years in prison. (James Schaeffer, Michael Quine / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Scott Gragson pleads guilty in fatal DUI crash - VIDEO
Las Vegas real estate broker Scott Gragson pleaded guilty Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, in his fatal DUI case. He is expected to spend several years in prison. Melissa Newton, a mother of three, was killed in the wreck on May 30, 2019. (James Schaeffer and Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Henderson man sentenced to life for killing young daughter - VIDEO
Justin Bennett, 26, was sentenced to life in prison for beating his 3-year-old daughter to death in 2016, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Las Vegas police investigate after a driver crashes into a wall - VIDEO
Las Vegas police were investigating after a driver crashed into a wall in east Las Vegas on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. The man was suspected of drunken driving and arrested. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Judge dismisses attempted murder case - VIDEO
Prosecutors are asking the Nevada Supreme Court to overturn a judge's decision to dismiss attempted murder and battery charges at the start of a trial this week. District Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez dismissed the charges on Tuesday after prosecutors delayed in calling a witness to testify. (Clark County District Court and Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police seeking help identifying armed robbery suspect - VIDEO
Police seeking help identifying armed robbery suspect. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fatal shooting at a Las Vegas apartment - VIDEO
A man in his 40s is dead after shooting at a southwest Las Vegas Valley apartment on Tuesday morning, Feb. 25, 2020. (Katelyn Newberg and Renee Summerour/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Metro briefing on officer-involved shooting.
Las Vegas police released body camera footage of an officer-involved shooting Sunday in south Las Vegas. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police handcuff inattentive driver - VIDEO
A motorist who apparently ignored or did not see police vehicles struck a Las Vegas police vehicle while officers were working at the scene of a rollover crash on Washington Avenue near H Street. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Victim forced to testify about the day he was shot
Johnny Brooks sits on the witness stand in shackles, forced to testify about the day he was shot in an attack that left two people dead.
Video shows man stealing money gifts from Las Vegas wedding - VIDEO
A man sneaked into a wedding Saturday in the western Las Vegas Valley and stole most of the monetary gifts, according to the groom’s sister. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Family of sucker punch victim speak at parole hearing - VIDEO
Family and friends of Luis Campos, the man who was killed by James Beach in Las Vegas with a single punch in 2017, speak out at a parole hearing for Beach on Feb. 10, 2020. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jury spares life of man who fatally shot liquor store clerk - VIDEO
A Las Vegas man must spend the rest of his life in prison for fatally shooting a 24-year-old liquor store clerk during a robbery, jurors decided Friday. (Michael Quine, Nathan Asselin, James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police briefing about Excalibur fire
Las Vegas police say a sexual assault and hotel fire Wednesday morning at the Excalibur are connected. (Alexis Egeland/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Guilt lingered for coworker of of slain Lee's Liquor clerk
For more than three years since Matthew Christensen was slain in the back room of a southwest valley Lee’s Discount Liquor store, as the killer awaited trial, his coworker has been haunted by the memory of that night.
Las Vegas ready to enforce homeless camping ban - VIDEO
Las Vegas police will begin enforcing a controversial camping ban on city streets on Saturday, but officials say they expect to impose the penalties available under the new ordinance only in rare instances. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The car that Tupac was shot in is for sale - VIDEO
The vehicle that legendary rapper Tupac Shakur was riding in when he was shot after a boxing match in Las Vegas is up for auction. The black 1996 BMW 7 Series is listed by Celebrity Cars Las Vegas for $1.75 million. (Angus Kelly/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bayzle Morgan Sentenced To 44 Years To Life - Video
A man with neo-Nazi tattoos on his face who pleaded guilty to killing a 75-year-old woman in her Las Vegas home in 2013 was sentenced Thursday to at least 44 years behind bars.