At a press conference to announce the arrests, Timothy J. Delaney of the Miami office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation said healthcare fraud is estimated to run into the ''hundreds of millions of dollars'' each year in South Florida alone.Acosta said his office prosecuted 68 healthcare fraud cases in 2006 -- a 30 percent increase over the year before. South Florida accounted for about one-fifth of all federal healthcare fraud cases in the country in 2006.
R. Alexander Acosta, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Jonathan I. Solomon, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Office; Melody Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, Atlanta Regional Office; Anthony Mangione, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Miami; and Bill McCollum, Attorney General, State of Florida, today announced criminal health care fraud charges against 16 defendants for fraudulently billing Medicare approximately $101 million.
A Tampa medical supply company was among nine Florida businesses charged by federal and state prosecutors with $101-million in Medicare fraud on Friday. EZ Medical Inc. and Eduardo Ruiz of Tampa allegedly submitted $5.3-million in fraudulent bills to Medicare for durable medical equipment. Ruiz faces a maximum prison term of 10 years. A total of 16 people, most from South Florida, were indicted in the case led by the U.S Attorney's office in Miami.
All-Med Billing Corp. Indictment, U.S. v. Mabel Diaz, et al
(All-Med), a Miami medical billing company, and executing a scheme to submit tens of millions of dollars in fraudulent claims to Medicare from 1998 to 2004 for reimbursement for durable medical equipment (DME) and related services. The indictment alleges that All-Med submitted approximately $80 million in false claims on behalf of 29 DME companies. The claims were allegedly fraudulent in that the equipment had not been ordered by a physician and/or had never been delivered to a Medicare patient. As a result of the submission of the fraudulent claims, Medicare paid the DME companies approximately $56 million. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of the fraud proceeds and substitute assets, including real estate of the Diazes. The Diazes were additionally charged with conspiracy to launder the proceeds of the alleged All-Med billing fraud scheme. Also charged in the All-Med billing fraud scheme was All-Med employee Suleidy Cano.
U.S. v. Jose Tomas Iglesias, et al.
On May 22, 2007, another indictment charged defendants Jose Tomas Iglesias, Marco Antonio Marrero, and Leslie Gonzalez, Case No. 07-20399-Cr- King, with conspiring to defraud Medicare in connection with the fraudulent submission of $6.8 million in DME-related claims during 2006. The claims concerned a Miami DME company named Bridge Medical Equipment Inc. According to the indictment, Medicare paid Bridge approximately $1 million in response to the bogus claims, which were for DME items that were neither prescribed by doctors nor delivered to Medicare patients.
Iglesias was also separately charged with several counts of illegally laundering the fraud proceeds through the cashing or depositing of various checks and with aggravated identity theft by using another's Florida driver's license in connection with the health care fraud scheme.
U.S. v. Alejandro De La Victoria
On May 22, 2007, defendant Alejandro De La Victoria, the owner of Precise Medical Services Inc., a Miami DME company, was indicted, Case No. 07-20397- Cr-Gold, on fraud charges for submitting approximately $3 million in fraudulent DME claims to Medicare during several months in 2006, and receiving approximately $1.4 million in payments. De La Victoria faces up to 10 years in prison on each of the six health care fraud charges.
U.S. v. Maria Oliveros-Garay
On May 15, 2007, defendant Maria Oliveros-Garay was indicted on four counts of health care fraud in connection with a Medicare billing fraud involving Abue Medical Equipment, Inc., a Miami DME company. According to the indictment, Case No. 07-20377-Cr-Cooke, Oliveros-Garay submitted approximately $3.8 million in fraudulent DME-related claims to Medicare in 2006, of which Medicare paid approximately $1.5 million.
U.S. v. Mario Mira and U.S. v. Eduardo Ruiz
On May 23, 2007, the U.S. Attorney's Office filed two separate informations against two individuals in separate DME-related fraud cases. In one case, Case No. 07-20405-Cr-Martinez, defendant Mario Mira was charged with one count of health care fraud in connection with Mario & Clara Medical Supply Inc., of Miami, a DME company that submitted at least $2.5 million in fraudulent DME claims to Medicare in 2006. Mira faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years.
In the second case, Case No. 07-20406-Cr-Jordan, defendant Eduardo Ruiz was charged with one count of health care fraud in connection with EZ Medical Inc., a Tampa DME company. According to the Information, Ruiz caused the submission of approximately $5.3 million in fraudulent DME claims in 2005 by misappropriating and using the Medicare identification numbers of Miami-Dade beneficiaries. Medicare paid approximately $1.38 million on these claims.
A copy of this press release may be found on the Web site of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida