Crooked Opioid Treatment Center Owner Arrested for Insurance Fraud

James Durkin, owner of a Boynton Beach opioid treatment facility The Hope Center of Recovery, has been arrested for insurance fraud. Durkin was charged for allegedly submitting fraudulent insurance billing for over $104,000.

CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “Insurance fraud at crooked addiction treatment centers fuels the ongoing opioid epidemic in Florida.” An investigation revealed Durkin’s was falsified billings to Cigna and United Health Care for addiction recovery treatments that were never performed.

Durkin faces up to 30 years in prison.

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Pinellas County Detectives Arrest 35 Unlicensed Contractors in Undercover Sting

Pinellas County Detectives arrested 35 unlicensed contractors in an undercover sting operation coined “Operation Cast Out.” The suspects’ charges include unlicensed specialty contracting violations, workers compensation fraud, and various other criminal charges unrelated to unlicensed contracting.

The sting operation was conducted from November 3-5 at a vacant storefront in Madeira Beach. The unlicensed contractors were found advertising on social media platforms and came to the business agreeing to engage in illegal contracting work without a license or permit.

Citizens in Pinellas County can search for licensed contractors or report unlicensed construction activity by visiting the PCCLB website.

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Filed under Fraud

Three Unlicensed Contractors Banned for Post-Storm Fraud

According to the Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis, three unlicensed contractors in Leon, Gadsden and Gulf counties have been banned from soliciting and conducting any work in Florida pending a full investigation. The Disaster Fraud Action Strike Team is investigating additional reports of potential fraud in Bay, Gulf, Washington and Leon counties. CFO Patronis is stressing the importance of verifying professional license information and whether the company has workers’ comp insurance before you hire a contractor.

Here’s a list of Tips to Stop Post-Storm Fraud:

  • Beware of Crooked Contractors.
  • Don’t Sign Anything.
  • Too Good to Be True? It Probably Is.
  • Beware of Door-to-Door.
  • Check a License.

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Telemedicine Business Owner Pleads Guilty to Fraud

Scott Gregory Roix, owner of the telemedicine company HealthRight, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care and wire fraud. Roix and his four alleged conspirators, Florida and Texas pharmacists and pharmacy owners are accused of submitting fraudulent insurance claims for more than $930 million.

Healthright made a lot of money illegally selling suspect, inexpensive drugs like weight-loss pills, skin creams and testosterone supplements at inflated prices. Roix’s company also obstructed doctor-patient relationships with telemarketers posing as “medical personnel.” HealthRight hid drug sales to the partner pharmacies by accounting for the payments as “marketing services.”

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Filed under Healthcare Fraud

Tampa Bay Businessmen Indicted in Billion Dollar Insurance Fraud Scheme

Four Pinellas County businessmen, Andrew Assad, Peter Bolos, Michael Palso and Larry Everett Smith have been indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, mail fraud and introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce. The conspiracy involved using their telemedicine business called HealthRight and compounding pharmacy companies to deceive patients, doctors, insurance carriers by fraudulently soliciting insurance coverage information and prescriptions, mark up the prices of the invalidly prescribed drugs, and bill insurance carriers. One of the compounding pharmacies, Alpha-Omega in Clearwater, allegedly charged $374 for $35-worth of lidocaine – a 969-percent markup.

According to the indictment, the men defrauded Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee out of approximately $174,000,000. Another Bay area man, Scott Roix, already please guilty to felony conspiracy in this case and another case involving wire fraud. Assad, Bolos, Palso, and Smith could face prison terms of over 30 years, fines up to $250,000 and probation for their charges.

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Palmetto Bay Man Arrested for Insurance Fraud and Grand Theft

Carlos Guillermo Aponte of Palmetto Bay was arrested in September for three counts of insurance fraud and grand theft for allegedly defrauding Citizens Property Insurance Corp. The Department of Financial Services’ Disaster Fraud Action Strike Team (DFAST) investigated Aponte after receiving a tip about fraudulent invoices and false rental agreements with letters claiming lost of rent for more than $30,000.

Aponte could face prison time of up to 45 years and fines up to $45,000.

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Filed under Insurance Fraud

Palm Beach County Business Owner Charged with Workers’ Compensation Fraud

According to the Florida Department of Financial Services, Vanessa Arreguin, owner of V&G Concrete, Inc. was arrested in August for three felony counts of concealing payroll to avoid workers’ compensation premiums and two felony counts of application fraud. Arreguin claimed she made less than $50,000 will conducting more than $7.5 million in business to avoid paying $51,000 in workers’ compensation.

Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis said, “Last year alone, our fraud detectives made more than 400 arrests for workers’ compensation fraud and I can assure you my office will continue to hold these individuals accountable.” Arreguin could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

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Filed under Insurance Fraud, Uncategorized

NICB Predicts Insurance Fraud will Rise with Frequency of Weather-Related Events

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) predicts a rise in fraudulent claims as weather-related events increase in frequency and size. A study done by the NICB revealed that approximately 10% of insurance claims are fraudulent. Another study fielded by the Pennsylvania Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority (PIFPA) Pennsylvania residents have limited knowledge of what is classified as insurance fraud and even fewer know that it is considered a felony. Insurance fraud, as well as workers’ comp fraud, are not a victimless crime. In fact, it increases policy costs for everyone which is why the industry must proactively combat insurance fraud to prevent further damage.

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Filed under Insurance Fraud

Lake Mary Man Arrested for Posing As Insurance Agent

Michael Hensley of Lake Mary has been arrested for falsely presenting himself as an insurance agent and providing general liability insurance for two Seminole County businesses. This isn’t the first time Hensley’s been accused of posing as an insurance agent and stealing money from local business owners.

While Hensley’s license expired in 2015, he’s pocketed $72,000 in insurance premiums over the years. The business owners would discover that they were not covered when attempting to file a claim.

Claims for damage due to Hurricane Irma uncovered Hensley’s alleged scheme causing one business over to pay $18,000 out of pocket to fix the roof of his business due to the storm.

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Filed under Insurance Fraud

Clearwater Doctor Pleads Guilty to Medicare Fraud

Dr. Jayam Krishna Iyer of Clearwater accepted a plea agreement that will end her medical career. Iyer’s charges include defrauding Medicare by billing for treatments she never delivered and giving written prescriptions for Schedule II narcotics to relatives of patients who never actually stepped foot into her offices.

Iyer’s controversial past includes being sued for malpractice in civil court. She has also been named in death investigations involving narcotics including dilaudid, morphine, oxycodone and fentanyl that she prescribed between 2003 and 2017 in Pinellas County.

Iyer will have to pay $51,000 in restitution for Medicare fraud in addition to giving up her medical career. She was facing up to 10 years in prison and as much as $250,000 in fines, will get a reduced sentence in exchange for her guilty plea.

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Filed under Healthcare Fraud, Medicare