Tag Archives: Insurance Fraud

Physical Assistant Pleaded Guilty for Role in $1B Medicare Fraud Scheme

Arnaldo Carmouze, a former physician assistant, is facing up to 10 years in prison time for his role in a Medicare fraud scheme. Carmouze was one of three defendants who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud while working for a network of skilled nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The scheme involved admitting Medicare and Medicaid patients to these homes and facilities even if they did not qualify for placement and giving them unnecessary medical care as well as referring patients to certain healthcare providers for kickbacks. In addition to prison time, Carmouze is also facing a fine up to $250,000 and three years of supervised release for his role in the $1 billion Medicare fraud scheme.

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Kendall Man Arrested for Bogus Boat Accident Insurance Claim

Florida Department of Financial Services Bureau of Insurance Fraud investigators arrested Jose Alberto Vargas for allegedly attempting to defraud Boat U.S. out of $14,000. Vargas filed a false claim for a grounded 1993 Mako boat and willfully deceived his insurance company and submitted misleading information regarding the ownership, dates and damage to his boat.

Vargas submitted his false claim on May 31, 2015, a few days after a mechanic saw Vargas’ boat at Tavernier Creek Marina and found that the engine was full of water and one cylinder was bad. Investigators also found that Vargas’ father was the owner of the boat at the time of the “accident” and did not transfer ownership to his son until August of that year.

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Two Arrested in Patient-Brokering and Insurance Fraud Scheme

Licensed pharmacist Richard Vallette and a “middleman” Todd Mulvaney were arrested in patient-brokering and insurance fraud scheme. Vallette and Mulvaney conspired to split thousands of dollars in insurance reimbursements from fraudulent prescriptions with who they thought was a drug-treatment center owner, but turned out to be an undercover cop.

Both men are facing six counts of patient brokering and six counts of insurance fraud. According to the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office, this is an active investigation and there will likely be additional arrests.

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Miami Home Health Care Worker Sentenced in Health Care Fraud Scam

Margarita Palomino of Homestead, Florida pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud. Palomino who worked for three home health agencies where she allegedly accepted kickbacks for the referral of Medicare beneficiaries, even ones that did not qualify for home health services and changed claims coding to increase reimbursement by Medicare. Palomino also admitted that she performed home health care nursing visits and prepared related medical records although she does not have a license to do so in the United States.

Medicare made payments of at least $4.65 million as a result of false and fraudulent claims submitted as part of this conspiracy. Palomino was sentenced to over six years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release for her role in the health care fraud scheme.

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Judge Unfreezes Personal Assets for Defendant in Health Insurance Scheme

Federal Judge Darrin B. Gayles ruled that Steven J. Dorfman, CEO of Simple Health Plans LLC and accused architect of a massive health insurance scheme, can have $75,000 for legal fees and $5,000 a month from his frozen personal assets. Dorman’s funds were seized when the Federal Trade Commission obtained a restraining order against him and his company in late October. He was initially seeking $15,000/month for living expenses and $200,000 for legal representation to fight the FTC’s lawsuit. The FTC wants to close Simple Health Plans permanently.

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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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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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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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