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AdventHealth University dean of nursing arrested on embezzlement charges

AdventHealth Orlando Hospital
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AdventHealth University in Orlando is affiliated with the AdventHealth health care system and is adjacent to AdventHealth Orlando hospital.

The recently hired dean, Laura Jean Fero, 54 of Apopka, faces charges related to her previous position in Minnesota.

AdventHealth University’s dean of nursing is facing charges of embezzlement and is accused of misappropriating over $400,000 at a former university where she served in a similar position.

Laura Jean Fero, 54 of Apopka, faces six felony charges of theft by swindle, according to court records. She was arrested last Wednesday at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport after arriving on a flight from Orlando.

Laura Jean Fero, 54 of Apopka, faces six felony charges of theft by swindle, according to court records.
AdventHealth University
Laura Jean Fero, 54 of Apopka, faces six felony charges of theft by swindle, according to court records.

Fero was hired in August by AdventHealth University in Orlando. She previously worked at St. Catherine’s University, in St. Paul, where the police said she used her position to secure university contracts with a company run by her boyfriend, Juan Ramon Bruce. However, investigators found that Bruce’s company provided little to no services for the university.

St. Paul police stated Bruce’s contracts amounted to $412,000. He was arrested on similar charges.

Fero first told investigators she met Bruce on a cold call regarding medical supplies and they weren’t in a relationship. However, Fero later stated that she met Bruce on a dating website.

St. Paul police also found that St. Catherine’s has a workplace policy on conflicts of interest, defining them as “any circumstance in which the personal, professional, financial or other interests of an employee may potentially or actually diverge from or may be reasonably perceived as potentially or diverging from the employee’s obligation to the University and the interests of the University.”

Fero told investigators that she had believed the policy referred strictly to married couples.

Additionally, the investigation found that Fero had concealed contracts with Bruce as well as how she went about authorizing the contracts.

Fero did not respond to a request for comment. AdventHealth University stated it would not comment on pending legal matters.

AdventHealth University, which has main campuses in Orlando and Denver and a satellite location in Tampa, specializes in medical education. It is affiliated with the AdventHealth health care system and the Orlando campus is adjacent to AdventHealth Orlando hospital.

In August, C. Josef Ghosn, president and CEO of Adventhealth University, posted on LinkedIn his excitement for Fero’s arrival.

“Who alongside our team of dedicated and highly qualified nursing faculty leaders, will help usher in an era of unprecedented growth, collaboration, and innovation in the fields of nursing and nursing education,” he said.

According to an April press release announcing Fero’s hiring at AdventHealth University, she was to lead the school’s undergraduate and graduate nursing programs.

On April 22, Fero purchased a newly constructed home for $610,000 in Apopka, according to the Orange County Property Appraiser.


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Joe Mario Pedersen