Articles Posted in White Collar Crime

On Friday, a federal jury convicted a Florida health care executive on 20 criminal counts in what prosecutors described as a $1 billion Medicare fraud scheme.

Jurors reached a partial verdict after four days of deliberating. This case is one of the biggest in U.S. history. Jurors were undecided on six additional counts, but prosecutors accepted the verdict rather than sending them back for further deliberations.

The Miami Beach businessman operated a network of nursing homes and assisted living facilities in South Florida.

Jurors found him guilty of paying kickbacks and bribes to doctors and administrators so they would refer patients to his businesses. A former Ivy League basketball coach testified that the man bribed him to get his son into school. He was also convicted of charges of obstruction of justice, for plotting to help one of his co-conspirators flee to another country.

The jury could not decide whether the man was guilty of Medicare fraud conspiracy. They found him guilty of money laundering and of bribing a Florida health regulator to warn him when inspectors planned surprise visits to his facilities and when patients made complaints.

The man plans to appeal the decision.

He has been jailed since his 2016 arrest. The charges he was convicted of add up to more than 250 years in prison, but he is likely to get far less than that under federal sentencing guidelines.

The federal government and the state of Florida are quite serious about prosecuting those accused of health care fraud. Police will use any means necessary to uncover any alleged fraud. Individual doctors and even entire hospitals can be the target of a health care fraud investigation.

The government is very aggressive in its approach to investigating health care fraud. Grand jury investigations are likely to occur. It doesn’t matter if you are under investigation or have already been indicted – you need to enlist the help of a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible who can defend you from these charges.

Our South Florida Medicare Fraud Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can defend you against health care fraud charges in Florida or elsewhere in the country. We will give you an honest assessment of your case and help you understand the possible defenses that may be available. We want to minimize any damage to you and your reputation.

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A former city commissioner of Margate has been sentenced to five years in state prison for a corruption case related to a tiki bar he operated in a strip mall.

Court records show that 56-year-old David McLean was sentenced Tuesday in Broward County Circuit Court. He was convicted last month of bribery, official misconduct and theft charges. McLean was a commissioner in the South Florida city of Margate.

Trial evidence showed McLean used his influence to do city favors for the tiki bar’s landlord. In return, the landlord forgave about $8,000 in rent and made another $6,000 in cash payments.

Public figures like politicians, police officers and city council members are always being watched. If their actions even merely appear to be illegal, then they can expect to be investigated. If you think you are being investigated for a crime or have already been charged, you need the help of a criminal defense lawyer who can aggressively attack any evidence obtained. Our South Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have the experience and determination to fight charges of corruption.

If you are facing corruption charges, let us help you. We will make sure you understand your legal options and will advise you on the best strategy with the hopes of achieving a successful outcome on your behalf.

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The ex-husband of “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Cynthia Bailey spent the night in a Miami jail after being arrested for writing fraudulent checks.

Peter Thomas was arrested Friday at Miami International Airport on a fugitive warrant.

The 58-year-old man is from Louisiana where he is accused of writing fraudulent checks.

No bond has been set.

In an official statement, Thomas said the allegations were false. He said he will be “acquitted from any wrongdoing.”

In Florida, check fraud can embody numerous fraudulent activities, such as writing a check from an account holding insufficient funds or a closed account. It is also a crime for someone to possess fraudulently obtained checks. Check fraud carries the potential for a felony conviction and significant prison time, depending on the value of the check.

In order for the State to charge someone with check fraud, they must prove the “bad check” was intentionally tendered to another person or business. This can be in the form of a personal check or a business-related check.

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A Boynton Beach woman is accused of stealing money from a Little Caesars pizza store where she worked last year.

The business owner was at home Nov. 30 and watching transactions at the shop through its surveillance system when he noticed the manager put $300 in her purse, according to a Boynton Beach police report.

From Sept. 10 through Nov. 30, $15,963 was taken from the business, according to the owner’s calculations, police said.

The 25-year-old was fired from her job at the store, and was arrested Feb. 2 by the U.S. Marshals Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force and released on $6,000 bond, according to police and court records.

The woman is facing charges of organized scheme to defraud, less than $20,000 and grand theft.

The store owner reviewed 160 hours of store video recorded during the woman’s shifts. He noticed the woman made more “no sale” entries to open the cash register than employees, and also did not move cash from the register to a safe as often as other workers, according to the police report.

The video apparently showed the woman taking money and either placing it in her purse or a bank bag or concealing it another way before taking it outside the store right away or at the end of her shift, police said.

Grand theft involves stealing an item or money that is valued at $300 or more. Grand theft is a felony in Florida, and depending on the amount allegedly stolen, you could face anywhere from a maximum sentence of 5 years to 30 years in state prison.

If you are facing theft charges in Boynton Beach, our Palm Beach County Theft Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you fight these charges. We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case and help you understand the best defense strategy to help you avoid a conviction or maximum penalties for this offense.

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A South Florida man has been convicted in a $100 million scheme to defraud a Puerto Rico bank.

According to court records, the 55-year-old man was convicted in Miami federal court Monday of eight counts of wire fraud affecting a financial institution. His sentencing is scheduled for April 30.

Prosecutors believe the man served as chairman and CEO of a pharmaceutical company from 2005 to 2007 and caused Westernbank to grant a series of loans in exchange for a security interest in the company’s assets in 2005. According to reports, evidence showed Western Bank agreed to advance money based on fake customer invoices, which allowed the man to divert tens of millions of dollars.

Westernbank declared the loan in default in 2007 and lost more than $100 million, leading to the bank’s insolvency and collapse.

Wire fraud is a federal offense and if convicted, you face heavy fines and serious jail time. Since this man was found guilty of committing wire fraud against a financial institution, jail time can be up to 30 years. These are very serious charges, and you should not wait to seek help. In fact, the sooner you obtain legal representation the better.

A person can be found guilty of wire fraud if they knowingly and willfully devised a scheme to defraud, or obtain money or property under false pretenses, and knowingly transmitted or caused to be transmitted by wire in interstate commerce in some capacity for the purpose of executing the scheme to defraud. This crime is centered around “intent,” and you do not have to actually defraud someone to be convicted of wire fraud.

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A former Colombian anti-corruption official is facing prison time after pleading guilty to U.S. money-laundering conspiracy charges as part of a bribery scheme.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled Thursday in Miami federal court for the former director of the anti-corruption office for Colombia’s chief prosecutor.

The man faces up to 20 years in prison.

The Drug Enforcement Administration says in court documents that the man sought to obtain thousands of dollars in bribes from a former governor of Colombia’s Cordoba region who was under a separate corruption investigation.

Bribery is defined as the act of offering money in order to influence the actions of another. The crime of bribery usually arises in the case of public officials, where a private citizen may offer something of value as a means to influence how the public official carries out their public duties. Most bribery cases are charged as conspiracies. In a conspiracy, the government believes that two or more people agreed to engage in criminal conduct.  

With extremely harsh penalties on the line, anyone facing accusations of bribery needs a powerful federal criminal defense attorney on their side to protect their interests, their livelihood, and, most importantly, their freedom.

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A Florida woman was arrested last week and accused of stealing more than $50,000 from the doctor’s office where she worked over a five-year period, according to reports. The 40-year-old woman was arrested on felony fraud and larceny charges last Wednesday and released later that day on a $30,000 bond.

According to an arrest affidavit, detectives began investigating the woman after a physician at Mariners Hospital reported she had stolen tens of thousands of dollars in cash from the practice.

After reviewing records from the past six years, detectives found that the woman, who was a clerk responsible for depositing cash at the bank, was creating two deposit slips — one for the billing company and one for the bank.

She allegedly began making the bogus deposits, which totaled $50,161.27, in January 2013, according to police.

The terms theft and fraud can mean many different things. At their most basic, theft and fraud boiled down to taking something that doesn’t belong to you. Fraud carries an added element of deception or trickery. Fraud and theft charges are very serious criminal charges in Florida that can carry very severe consequences if convicted.  

Fraud charges can be extremely stressful to deal with. However, our South Florida Fraud Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton may be able to help you avoid a conviction  or possibly reduce your charge and penalties. We can develop the best defense strategy that argues your innocence or present certain evidence to convince a prosecutor or judge that you deserve leniency.

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CityMD, a popular chain of 88 urgent care centers mostly in the New York metropolitan area, has agreed to pay $6.6 million for submitting false claims to Medicare, according to the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The payment settles a civil fraud lawsuit brought by a whistleblower and the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office.

CityMD is accused of improperly billing Medicare at a significant cost to taxpayers.

The settlement is a way to hold CityMD accountable both through the significant monetary payment and the detailed admissions made by CityMD.

As part of the settlement, CityMD apparently admitted it tricked Medicare by billing the federal program for lengthier and more complex procedures than its doctors actually performed.

The urgent care centers also confessed to billing Medicare for services performed by physicians not credentialed with the federal program.

The Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office joined a whistleblower’s False Claims Act lawsuit that had been filed under seal until the settlement was reached.

Being accused of collecting illegitimate healthcare funds from the federal government is a serious offense, and if this is proven in court, you could be facing pretty severe consequences. Medicare fraud is punished much more severely now than ever before. Punishments for this type of fraud generally stem from the federal sentencing guidelines. Depending on the offense, penalties can include maximum sentences ranging from 6 months to decades in prison, along with hefty fines. Moreover, restitution payments for wrongfully obtained funds will be ordered to reimburse the federal government.

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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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