A Florida man was convicted Friday of running an 18-year, $1.3 billion health-care fraud that prosecutors called the largest scheme of its kind ever charged by the Justice Department.
The 50-year-old Miami Beach resident apparently used a network of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in South Florida to defraud U.S. government healthcare programs while providing inadequate and unnecessary care to patients, prosecutors said.
The man is apparently made off with at least $37 million for himself from 1998 to 2016, according to prosecutors, using the money to finance a lavish lifestyle of fancy cars and a $360,000 watch.
The man also used some of the proceeds from the fraud to bribe the University of Pennsylvania basketball coach to help get his son into the school, prosecutors allege. The coach pleaded guilty to money laundering last year in connection with the case.
Prosecutors said the man bribed doctors to admit patients to the facilities he operated. The patients didn’t get appropriate care and sometimes received unnecessary services for which the man then billed the U.S. government.
The man also bribed a Florida state regulator to learn about surprise inspections of company facilities ahead of time, prosecutors said.
The total value of fraudulent claims that the man’s companies submitted to Medicare and Medicaid exceeded $1.3 billion, according to prosecutors.
A jury found the man guilty on 20 counts in U.S. district court in the Southern District of Florida. Charges included conspiracy to defraud the United States, receiving kickbacks, money laundering and conspiracy to commit bribery. Two co-conspirators pleaded guilty. Sentencing hasn’t been scheduled.
Health care fraud is a very serious crime that the federal government and the state of Florida will pour countless resources into to uncover alleged fraud. Anyone from an individual doctor to a billing company to an entire hospital system can be the target of a lengthy investigation.
The government is aggressive when it comes to investigating these claims. You need an equally aggressive attorney fighting on your side to protect you from health care fraud charges. Our South Florida Medicare and Medicaid Fraud Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton understand how to defend these health care fraud charges and will work tirelessly to protect you from the government’s powerful grasp. We will provide you with an honest assessment of your situation and help you understand the possible defenses that may be available. We want to minimize any damage to you and your reputation.