Federal authorities say that a group of 14 defendants outwitted a sophisticated global bank to take more than $1 million. The case will probably involve conspiracy charges because the 14 people worked together to pull off the heist.
A 61-year-old businessman received essentially a life sentence this week when a federal judge sent him to prison for 60 years. The insurance fraud case allegedly cost investors $485 million and affected as many as 1,000 people.
The Medicare Fraud Strike Force, along with other federal authorities, is focusing increased attention on HIV infusion therapy clinics in Florida and throughout the country. Authorities often allege that infusion therapy clinics charge Medicare for either unnecessary treatments or care that they did not actually provide to HIV patients.
Federal authorities are very serious about healthcare-related fraud. As a result, the penalties in these cases can be very severe. Even defendants who participated only on the edges of a scheme can face hefty prison sentences.
In a case that provides a good example of how far government agents can go before committing entrapment, a Miami police officer and firefighter received guilty verdicts in a cocaine trafficking case last week. The case took place in Miami federal court and could result in life sentences.
An interesting trial got underway in Miami federal court last week. The government accuses four defendants of running a large fraud scheme to scam wealthy male tourists out of hundreds of thousands dollars. Authorities also say the defendants are connected to Russian organized crime.
The government is focusing renewed attention on a specific type of tax fraud, arresting over 40 people around the country last week. Many of the defendants are from Miami and other cities around South Florida.
Federal authorities had a busy two weeks. In addition to the 92 defendants charged in a $432 million healthcare fraud bust last week, the government is now pursuing 530 people for mortgage fraud. The government claims that these defendants cost 73,000 homeowner victims around $1 billion.
As another indicator of the government's aggressive focus on Medicare and Medicaid fraud, federal investigators seized 92 people across the country. The defendants, including 34 people from Miami, will face federal fraud charges. Overall, the government says that these cases represent $432 million in fraud.
This week, the case of a South Florida fraud defendant serves as a reminder of the need to consult carefully with experienced counsel at every step of a government investigation. Although the defendant tried to plead guilty to the government's charges and asked to remain free on bail until sentencing in February, the judge sent him to jail immediately. This decision involved a separate civil case against the same defendant.
This week saw a new wrinkle in the storied Madoff prosecution. According to a new indictment, the Madoff Ponzi scheme actually began in the early 1970s instead of 1992 as alleged in earlier court documents.
A federal judge sentenced a Miami-area psychiatrist to 10 years in prison this week. The defendant must also repay more than $51.9 million as restitution. The sentence concludes a massive health care fraud conspiracy prosecution.
As another example of the extensive investigatory power available to federal authorities, a U.S. marshal connected the dots between a 1987 case and a recently arrested suspect. In this case, however, the authorities made the connection after a simple Google search. The defendant, a Harvard law graduate and former army intelligence captain who disappeared in 1984, will now face federal fraud charges.