Tag Archives: Healthcare fraud

Medicare Fraud Roundup Is Largest in U.S. History

A nationwide sweep on June 21 resulted in the largest coordinated takedown of alleged Medicare fraudsters in U.S. history.

The Medicare Fraud Strike Force led a sweep in 36 federal court districts that resulted in charges against 301 individuals, including 61 medical professionals. The schemes involved about $900 million in fraudulent billing. South Florida was home to 100 of those defendants participating in fraud schemes involving $220 million in false billings for home health care, mental health services and pharmacy fraud.

The defendants face charges of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, violations of anti-kickback statutes, money laundering and aggravated identity theft. More than 60 of the individuals arrested are charged with fraud related to Medicare Part D, the prescription drug plan that is the fast-growing part of Medicare.

The defendants were part of schemes to bill Medicare and Medicaid for treatments that were medically unnecessary or never performed. Medicare beneficiaries and patient recruiters were paid kickbacks for supplying beneficiary information to providers, who used that information for fraudulent billing.

In one case in the Southern District of Florida, nine defendants were charged with operating six home health companies in the Miami area that gave bribes and kickbacks to bill for services that were not medically necessary. Those six companies defrauded Medicare of more than $24 million.

In the Middle District of Florida, which includes Orlando and Tampa, 15 individuals were charged with crimes including compounding pharmacy fraud and intravenous prescription drug fraud involving $17 million in fake bills. The owner of several infusion clinics is accused of being reimbursed by Medicare for $17 million for intravenous prescription drugs that were never purchased or administered to beneficiaries.

Click here for the press release.

Comments Off on Medicare Fraud Roundup Is Largest in U.S. History

Filed under Health care, Insurance Fraud, Medicare, Miami-Dade Fraud, Southern District of Florida, Uncategorized

Miami Couple Sentenced For Operating Clinic to Defraud Medicare

On June 29, 2015, U.S. District Judge Susan C. Bucklew sentenced Gladys Fuertes, 41, and Mario Fuertes, 41, of Miami for operating a sham clinic. Gladys Fuertes was sentenced to 19 years and 6 months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, healthcare fraud, aggravated identity theft, and obstruction of healthcare fraud investigation. Mario Fuertes was sentenced to 11 years and 3 months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, healthcare fraud, and obstruction of a healthcare fraud investigation. The couple was ordered to forfeit $1,036,759.72. A federal jury convicted the Fuerteses on March 24, 2015.

According to a Department of Justice release, the couple established and operated Gables Medical and Therapy Center for the purpose of committing healthcare fraud by employing unlicensed medical professionals. The Fuerteses misused the Medicare billing numbers of other medical professionals, without their knowledge, in order to claim medical treatments.

Prosecutors say Gladys and Mario Fuertes paid a co-conspirator to recruit Medicare beneficiaries and to drive patients to the Gables Medical for basic and sham medical services. The couple fraudulently billed Universal Medicare in excess of $900,000 for treatments not rendered and for treatments requiring a physician’s presence.

Gladys and Mario Fuertes also facilitated the provision of fraudulent prescriptions for controlled substances to Gables patients and allowed a co-conspirator to assist patients in filling prescriptions for controlled substances such as oxycodone, according to the Department of Justice. The co-conspirator also purchased the controlled substances from Gables patients and sold them on the street.

Gladys and Mario Fuertes also obstructed the federal investigation by instructing Gables Medical patients to lie to law enforcement agents. The couple provided federal agents with altered Medicare documentation.

Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged more than 2,300 defendants who collectively billed the Medicare program for over $7 billion, according to a Department of Justice report.

Comments Off on Miami Couple Sentenced For Operating Clinic to Defraud Medicare

Filed under Insurance Fraud

“Operation Never Ends” Leads to Closure of Two Clinics, Multiple Arrests

“Operation Never Ends,” the multi-organizational investigation organized by Miami police, the Secret Service, local and state agencies and insurance companies, has led to the closure of two clinics involved in staging accidents and making fraudulent insurance claims.

The more than one year long operation led to the arrest of, among others, Jorge Felix Felipe Pupo, 49, accused of being the ringleader, and Yanaris Ramirez Paneque, 36, a receptionist at one health clinic, according to authorities.  According to the report from NBC 6:

Police say they went undercover inside a medical building in the 700 block of Northwest 23rd Avenue and at another location near Flagler and the Palmetto Expressway.

Detectives said recruiters would find those willing to participate in the staged accidents, then bring them to medical clinics where paperwork was done to get money back from insurance companies.

Police Sgt. Luis Taborda explained the scheme.

“The clinics are the main,” he said. “They provide the money to a runner and the runner puts together the crash — orchestrates the crash.”

Police said the ring was making big money on the claims.

“I could tell you that in one investigation that we did at the beginning, they were up to $80,000 before we shut them down — in just one crash,” Taborda said.

The article from NBC 6 South Florida is available here.

Comments Off on “Operation Never Ends” Leads to Closure of Two Clinics, Multiple Arrests

Filed under Fla. Stat. 627.736 (2008), Fla. Stat. 627.736 (2012), Insurance Fraud, Licensing