In a recent report released by the Department of Health and Human Services, home health care services have become a vehicle for fraudulent Medicaid claims. The report focused on the Personal Care Services Program, which provides care givers for the disabled and the elderly. These services can be billed to Medicaid and caregivers can range from trained professionals to family members.
For years, Medicare and ambulance transport services worked as a team in getting patients in trouble to hospitals. As concern over fraud has mounted, and the political need for convictions has grown, the government has trained its guns on companies whose mission is to save lives.
Questions of reimbursement
Ambulance services are covered under Medicare Plan B. To be reimbursed, the ambulance can be used only for situations where other transportation - taxi, family car, city bus - pose a risk to the patient's health. The law allows ambulances to transport patients to the nearest care facility.
Transport is also reimbursable in emergency situations. When appropriate, transport by air is also paid for.
Should penalties for white collar criminals be lightened?
This idea will be unpopular with some people, who believe that white collar criminals are treated more gently than other criminals. Many people picture privileged minimum security penal campuses, where prisoners play lots of tennis.
A false sterotype
First of all, that is not a true picture. I have been to federal penitentiaries and I can tell you that no one is having a good time there. Prison is prison, the opposite of freedom, and no one wants to be there.
Second, consider how the current system is failing. The War on Drugs, the campaign against Medicare fraud, and other criminal matters in the headlines have led to harsh sentencing guidelines.
A first offense for manufacturing, distributing, or possessing a significant amount of illegal drugs, with intent to distribute, and that causes the death or serious injury to a person, results in a minimum sentence of 20 years.
While the crime is a serious one, that minimum 20 years in prison has a perverse, unintended effect. Defendants with resources can afford to fight the charges in court. Defendants with fewer resources are up the creek - they plead guilty, even if they did not commit the crime, or if an experienced lawyer could have won the case or seriously reduced the charges.
The problem with plea bargains
This is why 97 percent of federal cases end in guilty pleas. It is the cheap way to reduce time in prison.
As a consequence, we have prisons packed to the gills with drug offenders who could not afford to seek competent defense. And these people, many of them young, spend years there, "rehabilitating."
The former manager of Opa-locka has been sentenced as the result of a years-long federal corruption case. This past September, the 51-year-old defendant pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge, considered to be a white collar crime. He was accused of accepting thousands of dollars in bribes from people in exchange for things like city licenses and code enforcement.
Court records show that a federal judge imposed the sentence just recently. This sentencing comes after the defendant has already spent more than the last three years in prison. The FBI has reportedly been investigating corruption in this South Florida city for months.
After being captured in Argentina, an individual accused of being an international drug lord was handed over to federal authorities and flown to South Florida on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. He was originally arrested in 2012, but could not be extradited until recently. A day after his arrival, he appeared before a federal judge to face charges of federal drug trafficking for smuggling cocaine.
The accused is currently incarcerated in Florida. He had applied for political asylum in Argentina, but his request was denied. He claims he was set up by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Colombian police. Authorities allege the man is the leader of the "Urabenos" gang. Considered to be one of the most wanted drug traffickers in the world, he is accused of smuggling tons of cocaine into the country.
A 46-year-old Florida man is facing two charges of bribery and one charge of official misconduct. The former Florida A&M University admissions officer has been accused of altering records and offering school admission for cash. Each of these charges is considered a white collar crime, and together they will make up the basis for the case that was initiated in March by the Florida Attorney General's Office of Statewide Prosecution.
Court records indicate the man allegedly told the mothers of two students that, if they paid him money, he would ensure the students were admitted to the university despite the fact that they had previously been disqualified. One of the mothers agreed and paid the bribe. The second student's mother, however, contacted police and reported the bribery attempt. In conjunction with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the woman reportedly paid him in cash provided by officials.
A Florida construction company has been hit with a lawsuit after a recent ongoing Fort Lauderdale dispute. Fraud, considered a white collar crime, is only one of the counts faced by Cambridge Construction after Happy Land accused the company of failing to pay subcontractors and causing liens to build up against the developer. The suit was recently filed in Broward County Circuit Court and involves a $4.75 million construction contract.
In early 2014, Cambridge Construction won a contract to build a 36,000 square foot retail store at 105 North Federal Highway. However, Happy Land alleges that the builder failed to pull permits for subcontracting work, such as HVAC systems and plumbing, before beginning and caused other problems resulting in delays and liens against the developer. In addition, the lawsuit claims that these subcontractors weren't even paid, despite Happy Land paying its construction bills to Cambridge on time.
When authorities pull someone over in a traffic stop, they often run a background check using that person's identification information. Recently, authorities outside the state of Florida did so, and ended up arresting the man involved because of an outstanding warrant connected to a white collar crime incident. The crimes the man is said to have committed include stolen money and illicit use of another individual's personal identity information.
The 42-year-old man was pulled over for a suspected traffic offense. Moments later, he was under suspicion as a fugitive from justice. It appears that when the officer making the traffic stop ran the man's ID through the system, a warrant for his arrest in Florida showed up.
The sun hadn't even finished rising on a recent Wednesday morning when law enforcement agents raided a home in Florida. Authorities say their actions were part of a predawn crackdown on crime. A substantial number of arrests were made in the federal drug trafficking bust.
Apparently, the operation was part of a two year long investigation. When all was said and done, at least 25 people were arrested. Reportedly, those taken into custody have lengthy criminal records with as many as 400 past arrests between them. Officers say the searches they conducted in the case resulted in the seizure of multiple kilos of heroin, cocaine, marijuana and flakka. The investigation allegedly targeted known gang members who sold more than 280 firearms to undercover agents.
A man in Florida recently faced charges related to his deceased mother. The 56-year-old man may face up to more than a decade behind bars if things don't go his way at his sentencing hearing. He has already entered a guilty plea regarding the aggravated white collar crime associated with his deceased mother's Social Security benefits.
The man apparently ran a scheme where he continued to sign his mother's name on checks after she died. He used the checks to transfer money between her accounts. All told, he collected at least $35,000 in benefits to which his mother would have been entitled if she were still alive.