Articles Posted in White Collar Crime

A former University of Florida football player was sentenced to nearly 22 years in prison and ordered to pay about $18 million for a healthcare fraud conspiracy that stripped millions from the TRICARE program for military members, veterans and their families, according to federal court records.

The 46-year-old man, who played for Steve Spurrier’s Gators from 1990-93, was accused in a 49-count indictment of hiring an independent marketing team that included former Florida and NFL quarterback Shane Matthews in a conspiracy to fleece the TRICARE program.

The man maintained his innocence and denied what the prosecuting attorney described as “buying and selling patients for a pharmacy.”

The man, a former defensive back who spent three years in the NFL with the Chiefs and Jaguars, was accused of receiving and paying kickbacks to score lucrative patient referrals for a major South Florida pharmacy.

Despite his claims of innocence, a jury unanimously convicted him on multiple charges earlier this year, including the conspiracy that funneled more than $20 million from the TRICARE program.

Prosecutors described the conspiracy as a “pyramid scheme” and said there are other “unindicted co-conspirators.”

Healthcare fraud is a crime that is often charged along with conspiracy. Fraud is defined as an attempt to gain money or value by a false representation of fact. If you are facing federal conspiracy and/or fraud charges, or if you have reason to believe you are under investigation for such charges, you need to act fast and consult a Federal Healthcare Fraud Attorney at Whittel & Melton. A free consultation with us can help you learn more about the criminal defense process and the best course of action for your case.

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Three Medicare fraud schemes in recent weeks have targeted a total $139.4 million, which led the Department of Justice to seek multiple convictions and a combined 33 years in prison sentences.

Each of the alleged schemes involved the use of provider kickbacks, a popular activity in healthcare, to entice healthcare professionals to inappropriately redirect clients and beneficiaries to specific healthcare businesses.

Law enforcement officials began their crackdown on Medicare fraud earlier in the year with a mix of provider convictions and settlements involving roughly $3 million dollars.

Combating healthcare fraud continues to be a top priority for law enforcement officials because of the dangers it presents to vulnerable beneficiaries in the Medicare program, as well as the potential to recover billions in Medicare spending.

A Detroit provider was sentenced to six years in prison for $10.4 kickback scheme. The case apparently involved kickbacks for unnecessary electromyogram (EMG) tests and physical therapy tests.

He was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, one count of wire fraud, two counts of receiving healthcare kickbacks, and had to personally forfeit $1.69 million.

A 70-year-old Boca Raton man was sentenced to five years in prison for $63 million in home health care fraud. Him and eleven other co-conspirators apparently submitted false and fraudulent claims to Medicare through kickbacks that were medically unnecessary, were not eligible for Medicare reimbursement, or were never provided by his clinic.

The man was found guilty of hiding the payments by using his clinic to provide a salary through the kickbacks, and was paid a flat rate based on the number of individuals he referred. The man also admitted patients for partial hospitalization program (PHP) services even though he knew the patients didn’t qualify for PHP service.

He was convicted of one charge of conspiracy to defraud the United States and to receive healthcare kickbacks. He personally had to forfeit $9.9 million and a personal money judgement over $400,000.

The case was investigated by the FBI, HHS, and OIG with supervision from the Medicare Fraud Strike Force and the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.

A 52-year-old Miami owner of multiple home health agencies was sentenced to 20 years in prison for $66 million in Medicare fraud that used his network of 20 home health agencies to host an elaborate kickback scheme.

The man and other co-conspirators were found guilty of recruiting individuals to represent his home health agencies in order to hide the man’s identity as they paid illegal bribes and kickbacks to patient recruiters to refer patients to these agencies.

The man also admitted that he submitted false and fraudulent home healthcare claims for Medicare beneficiaries that did not qualify for many services.

He had to forfeit $66.4 million in restitution and is convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and wire fraud.

The case was investigated by the FBI and was brought forward by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force and the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.

The Federal Anti-Kickback Statute makes it a felony to knowingly and willfully offer, pay, solicit, or receive remuneration, directly or indirectly, in order to induce business that is reimbursable under any federal health care program, such as Medicare or Medicaid. If accused of this crime, you could be facing both criminal and civil penalties.

Are you under investigation for Medicare fraud? You are not alone. About 1,400 individuals are indicted in federal court for health care fraud every year and more than 2,500 individuals are currently being investigated for Medicare fraud.

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A 52-year-old Miami businessman has been given a 20 year prison sentence for his apparent role in a Medicare fraud scheme.

His eight homes around Miami-Dade County, at least three cars, and a meat supermarket have been seized as a part of his $66 million in restitution.

He apparently owns 19 healthcare agencies as well. According to court documents, he tried to hide his ownership of the health agencies as part of yet another massive South Florida Medicare scam.

He apparently recruited others to falsely and fraudulently represent themselves to be the owners of the agencies in order to hide his identity and ownership interest, according to the court documents. These nominee owners completed and signed Medicare enrollment applications that fraudulently misrepresented the identities of the agencies’ ownership interest and managing control of the true owners and failed to disclose the man’s ownership interest and managing control of the agency, contrary to Medicare’s requirements.

From 2007 through 2015, the man and his nominees are accused of paying patient recruiters kickbacks to refer Medicare beneficiaries to the man’s owned facilities. The facilities billed Medicare for expensive healthcare services such as physical therapy and home health. Most of the referred beneficiaries didn’t quality for home health services or the services were imaginary.

Medicare is a federal program that provides health insurance to all American citizens over the age of 65. The government treats medicare fraud quite seriously and will prosecute anyone suspected of defrauding the program.

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A longtime Miami police officer who patrolled the city’s waterways is also accused of running a ponzi scheme, according to feds.  

His alleged pitch: Invest in his Costa Rican loan company and expect returns of over 20 percent.

Federal prosecutors said Tuesday morning that the pitch was a scam after announcing criminal charges against the man. They claim the money was used only to enrich himself and pay back early investors.

The 41-year-old was arrested Monday after FBI agents learned he was suddenly flying to Costa Rica because of an “emergency.” Agents arrested the cop while he was boarding a flight at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

The man is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Miami internal affairs and the FBI said the man operated his alleged Ponzi scheme between 2011 and 2015.

According to a criminal complaint, he offered “low-risk” investments in his company, which he claimed was giving high-interest loans to property owners in Costa Rica. The loan recipients used their properties in the Central American country as collateral, he said.

But feds claim the man just showed phony paperwork that claimed the company had property rights to land in Costa Rica.

Federal prosecutors did not disclose how much the man is suspected of getting through his investment scheme.

This case is clear example of a white collar crimes arrest. White collar crimes are non-violent offense committed for financial gain. These crimes are often investigated by state or federal agencies, and some of these investigations can carry on for months. Some of these investigations may continue for months. Anyone who is under investigation or has been arrested for a white collar crime should not talk to anyone, especially police, until consulting their legal counsel. Our South Florida White Collar Crimes Lawyers at Whittel & Melton understand the urgency of your situation and that immediate action must be taken to strengthen your defense.

Anytime police conduct an investigation, they may ask you to explain a few things. Regardless of your innocence, do not make the mistake of answering questions without your attorney present. Police are only looking to incriminate you. Our firm can help you avoid saying anything that could be construed as an admission of guilt.

At Whittel & Melton, we provide a powerful defense against white collar crimes, including:

  • Embezzlement
  • Fraud
  • Extortion
  • Tax fraud
  • Identity theft
  • RICO
  • Immigrations violations
  • Money laundering
  • Antitrust
  • Medicare and medicaid fraud
  • Ponzi schemes
  • Conspiracy

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The former mayor of North Miami Beach has been charged in an alleged $150,000 land investment scheme.

The man was arrested Tuesday and charged with securities fraud, grand theft, sale of an unregistered security and sale of security by an unregistered dealer.

According to the Miami-Dade County state attorney’s office, the man made a series of false investment representations and omitted several facts to an investor who donated $150,000 to the man intended for the development of 2.2 acres of vacant land in North Miami.

An investigation by prosecutors and the Florida Office of Financial Regulation revealed that the partnership failed to gain any additional investors.

Instead of returning the donated $150,000, the money was allegedly used to pay $13,000 toward the former mayor’s home mortgage, $10,000 to his construction company, $86,700 to himself directly and about $30,000 in personal expenses through his construction company, according to police.

Prosecutors said a balance of just $350 was left in the investment account when all was said and done.

The former mayor was being held at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center on a $20,000 bond.

Securities fraud, otherwise known as investment fraud, is an intentional and deceptive business practice that occurs when a person and/or company conceals financial information to try to influence the purchasing behavior of investors and shareholders. People found guilty of securities fraud can face serious penalties that may include restitution, fines, jail time loss of license and others. If you are facing charges for any type of securities fraud offense, it is critical that you seek the advice of a South Florida White Collar Crimes Lawyer at Whittel & Melton who will fight to protect your interests.

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A Fort Lauderdale resident was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison for tax evasion.

According to documents filed with the court, the 53-year-old man evaded paying taxes on more than $1.5 million in income that he earned from 2002 to 2015. Except for the 2007 tax year, the man has not filed an income tax return since 2002. He worked for a Fort Lauderdale company selling hurricane-resistant windows to residential homeowners in South Florida. In August 2009, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) notified the man of its intent to levy his wages because of his failure to pay taxes. According to reports, the man established his own business and changed his employment status from an employee to an independent contractor to obstruct the IRS’s collection efforts. The man listed himself as the director of the business and opened a business bank account in its name. Due to the man’s change in employment status, his employer paid his business directly and the IRS’s attempts to levy the man’s wages were thwarted.

From approximately August 2009 through April 2017, the man allegedly used his business’ bank account to pay for personal expenses, including rent, cigars, international travel, entertainment, his girlfriend’s cosmetic surgery, jewelry, and a boat. He also apparently falsely classified numerous personal expenses as business expenses on the memo line of the checks drawn on the business bank account.

The man apparently admitted that he made these false entries with the intent to claim false business expense deductions and evade the assessment of his income taxes. The man also apparently admitted that his actions caused a tax loss of more than $351,241.

In addition to the term of prison imposed, the judge ordered the man to serve two years of supervised release and to pay $459,481.03 in restitution to the IRS.

When tax matters turn criminal or have the potential to turn criminal, you must take immediate action to minimize or eliminate the potential consequences. The operative word when dealing with criminal matters is speed: the earlier you have a criminal defense attorney assess the situation and work quickly to resolve the matter, the less the damage can be.

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Two South Florida men were arrested Wednesday on trafficking in fraudulent credit cards after an Interstate 75 traffic stop allegedly uncovered gas pump keys, scores of fake cards and more.

A 29-year-old Hollywood man and a 42-year-old Miramar man were pulled over on I-75 northbound near mile marker 378 based on a traffic violation, according to a Gainesville Police Department arrest report.

During a search of the vehicle, police claim they found 80 fraudulent cards in a paper bag, two wallets with seven fraudulent credit cards, a credit card encoder, gas pump keys and other devices related to fraudulent card activity.

The seven cards in the wallet had numbers written on the back that appeared to be ZIP codes.

Both men were charged with trafficking in counterfeit credit cards and encoding fraudulent cards.

As of Thursday morning, both men were being held in Alachua County jail in lieu of $70,000 bond.

Anyone who uses someone else’s lost or stolen credit cards to buy merchandise or services can be charged with credit card fraud. Likewise, anyone using a bank, ATM or credit card device by using another person’s credit card, account number, or personal identification number (PIN) can be charged with credit card fraud. If a person is selling and/or trafficking credit cards or is found to be in possession of materials that are commonly used to counterfeit credit cards, they need a criminal defense attorney to help them beat these credit card trafficking and fraud charges.

Good people can get easily get implicated in this type of criminal activity.  Regardless of what role you play in this type of crime, the prosecution will take a serious stance against you. You need a strong and capable criminal defense lawyer to assert your rights and defend your freedom.

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A Boca Raton woman was sentenced to four years and three months in prison for submitting fraudulent student loan applications online.

According to investigators, the 31-year-old tricked nursing students at the Coral Ridge Training School into giving out their personal information, which she then used to sign up for loans without their consent.

At the time, the woman was an employee at the school, officials said.

Many students found out about the unauthorized loans when they started receiving letters from the loan servicing companies.

Wire Fraud is a very serious criminal offense under federal law. A conviction usually results in stiff fines and lengthy time behind bars. There are 2 major factors that outline if wire fraud was committed:

  • The accused willfully intended to devise a scheme or means to defraud another person of money or property with the intent to defraud.
  • The accused committed the scheme through the use of interstate wire facilities, such as telephone, television, email or the Internet.

If you are being investigated for or have been arrested for wire fraud it is vital to the outcome of your case to obtain legal help right away. These types of crimes are usually investigated over a solid period of time by police as they build their case. It is not uncommon for police to reach out to those suspected of committing wire fraud to try and gather more evidence against the accused. If you are under investigation for wire fraud or have already been charged, let our South Florida Wire Fraud Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton help you with your defense. We will make sure your rights are protected.

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A former Democratic state lawmaker is facing a federal indictment for allegedly using campaign funds to cover personal expenses.

It was announced earlier this month that former state Rep. Dwayne Taylor, 49, of Daytona Beach has been charged with nine counts of wire fraud in connection with a scheme to funnel money from his campaign to personal funds.

Taylor could face a maximum of 20 years in prison on each of the nine counts.

Prosecutors are also seeking $62,834, “representing the amount of proceeds obtained as a result of the offense,” though the amounts withdrawn from the campaign in the nine counts listed in the indictment totaled $2,440.

According to the indictment, Taylor “would withdraw cash from the Dwayne L. Taylor Campaign Accounts at automated teller machines (ATMs) … and, within minutes or hours, deposit the same or a similar amount of cash into one of TAYLOR’s personal accounts.”

Taylor used at least one check for similar reasons, the indictment said.

Taylor is accused of using the funds for personal expenses and then filing fake or inflated campaign expense reports to cover his alleged misuse of the money.

Under Florida law, campaign money may not be used to defray normal living expenses, other than for transportation, meals, and lodging that is campaign-related.

Taylor served as his campaign’s treasurer in 2012 and 2014, when he was seeking re-election to the House, according to reports, which deals with funds from those two campaigns.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

There are many different aspects of wire fraud charges, so it is best to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible so that a strong case can be built on your behalf. It is up to prosecutors to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you committed every element of the criminal act of wire fraud. If they cannot prove this, then they cannot achieve a conviction. This is why it is imperative for your defense lawyer to highlight any flaws or weaknesses in the case.

The elements of wire fraud generally consist of using mail or electronic communications in furtherance of defrauding, deceiving or cheating someone out of honest services.

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Thirteen people, mostly from South Florida, are facing federal charges of mail fraud and conspiracy for allegedly defrauding approximately $23 million from investors — mostly seniors — around the nation.

According to investigators, two linked telemarketing frauds, based in Miami Lakes and Marina Del Rey, Calif., touted stocks for Sanomedics Inc. and Fun Cool Free stocks between 2009 and 2015.

The telemarketers claimed to be selling profitable shares in companies that provided thermometers for humans and dogs and games for smartphones, according to authorities.

Five of the 13 arrested were also charged with wire fraud.

Due to the increase in telephone scams over the past few years, the federal government along with state authorities have been cracking down on any suspected telemarketing fraud schemes. If you or your company is under investigation for fraud or you are facing criminal charges, it is best to seek legal counsel as soon as possible.

Telemarketing fraud can involve many actions or schemes, such as:

  • Convincing someone to pay a fee to obtain a credit card or to restore credit – also known as advanced fee scams.
  • Telling a person you will enter their name into a lottery for a prize to obtain the person’s personal information for fraudulent purposes.
  • Bullying or pressuring the person to act quickly and send a payment.
  • Promising a product or service and never following through.
  • Promising the person will make a lot of money working from home and other get-rich-quick schemes – also known as a pyramid scheme.
  • Selling fake timeshares.
  • Tricking a person into making a wire transfer.

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