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Health care fraud dragnet catches 94 suspects

Posted in Crime Prevention July 19th, 2010 @ 8:59 am

Last week, Miami, Florida pulled in their dragnet to catch 94 suspects charged with Medicare fraud. This stepped up criminal enforcement also stopped other fraud in other cities plotting to fleece $251 million from Medicare.

The authorities used an orchestrated crackdown in five major U.S. cities that coincided with the nation’s first health care fraud summit in Miami. Miami is considered the nation’s capital of Medicare corruption. Other arrests include 36 suspects in Miami, Brooklyn, Baton Rouge, Houston and Detroit.

In Miami-Dade, 24 suspects were charged with submitting about $103 million in fraudulent bills for home health care, HIV therapy and medical equipment services. All but three were arrested. In Detroit, a doctor was accused of setting up clinics to treat HIV patients who either didn’t receive the therapy or didn’t need it.

In Brooklyn, NY undercover agents and wiretaps were used. Agents wire tapped a medical center, where eight people were charged with running a $72 million scheme. They were submitting bogus claims for physical therapy and occupational therapy for elderly Russian immigrants. In addition, the clinic owners paid patients for using their Medicare numbers. Hanging on the wall in Russian were signs showing a woman with a finger to her lips and two messages in Russian: “Don’t Gossip” and “Be on the lookout: In these days, the walls talk.”

The magnitude Medicare fraud in Florida is amazing. Florida mental health clinics submitted $421 million in bills to Medicare last year — about four times more than Texas and 635 times higher than Michigan. According to government records Florida is infested with health-care rackets that lead to fraud.

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