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April 2013 Archives

Miami Drug Trafficking Charge For Cartel "Queen"

In 2012, Mexico agreed to extradite Sandra Avila Beltran to the United States. Law enforcement officials believed that she was heavily involved in the trade of drugs from Mexico to the United States. She recently pleaded guilty to a drug trafficking offense in a federal court in Miami. She entered a guilty plea to a single count of being an accessory after the fact to a drug trafficking organization. That organization was previously led by the woman's ex-boyfriend and was credited with linking the Norte del Valle drug cartel in Columbia with the Sinaloa cartel in Mexico. For the single count against her, Ms. Beltran could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison. She could also face a fine of as much as $5 million. Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for July.

HEAT Task Force And Miami Health Care Fraud - Part Two

In 1995, there was no criminal law concerning Medicare fraud. The problem was either considered too minor to address or it had not occurred to legislators that such a thing could exist. It is difficult to explain how something could go from being of no concern to being at least a $100 billion per year issue. Medicare and Medicaid and the ways in which those programs are managed may explain why health care fraud has become so common. Some doctors and hospitals contend that the reimbursement rates offered by those programs are too low for hospitals serving large numbers of eligible patients to survive. Moreover, the billing and reimbursement policies have encouraged questionable billing practices.

HEAT Task Force And Miami Health Care Fraud - Part One

In 2007, the government set up a law enforcement group known as the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team, shortened to HEAT. The group now has branch offices in nine cities, including Miami. Since its inception, HEAT Task Force agents have charged nearly 1,500 people with health care fraud totaling $4.8 billion. More than 50 percent of the fraud cases identified by HEAT were originated from the Miami office. Law enforcement has repeatedly labeled Miami as the epicenter of all health care fraud activity in the United States.

Confirmation Of Florida As Mortgage Fraud Leader

The Mortgage Fraud Index was released this week by the publication Mortgage Daily and it confirms what previous reports have shown. Despite a five-year low in legal actions for mortgage fraud nationwide, such actions actually rose in Florida in the last quarter of 2012. According to the index, Florida saw a rise in these actions and once again was the nation's leader in claims for mortgage fraud. In the fourth quarter alone, there were $246.9 million worth of mortgage fraud cases in this state. California placed a distant second, more than $50 million behind. Florida made up nearly one-fifth of all mortgage fraud cases throughout the United States during that time period.

Goldman Sachs Group Trader Pleads Guilty To Fraud

A former trader at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. surrendered to Federal Bureau of Investigation authorities this week. The FBI wanted the man in connection with activities he undertook during his time as a trader late in 2007. On Wednesday, he pleaded guilty to a single count of wire fraud. After the hearing, the man, who now lives in Florida, was released on bond. The single count could lead to a prison sentence of as much as 20 years, in addition to monetary penalties. While prosecutors are recommending a shorter sentence, the actual sentence will not be set prior to his sentencing hearing, scheduled for July 26.

Bail Hearing Set For Florida Man Accused Of Real Estate Fraud

After spending several days in a Florida correctional facility without bail, a man implicated in a mortgage scheme was granted a bail hearing in an Orlando courthouse today. The 47-year-old man was arrested on Friday after being the subject of a three-year Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into fraudulent mortgage activities. Two other people who were also implicated in the investigation were granted a $25,000 signature bond and released after making their first appearances in court.

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