In Florida, oxycodone is a popular drug often sold illegally. One man with a drug dealing past allegedly used Medicare fraud as a front for illegal oxycodone sales. The man, 53, is based in Broward County.
Along with three others, he has been accused of using a Coral Gables clinic and HIV patients to defraud the government. According to allegations, this was done by filing false claims for medical care and drugs via the Universal Health Care Group, a St. Petersburg Medicare insurer that is now defunct. In regards to this case, the government is calling that insurer a victim of fraud. Last year, it filed for bankruptcy protection after being accused of embezzlement and fraud.
Indictments in the current case were unsealed the last week of March by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tampa. The indictments were based on the result of an extensive investigation conducted by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force’s Tampa Bay office. The central defendant in the case has signed a plea agreement.
In that agreement, he affirms that he recruited patients for a clinic run by two of the other defendants, a couple ages 40 and 38. That clinic, Gables Medical and Therapy Center, allegedly used the patients’ identities to claim financial reimbursement for various medical treatments. However, the medical treatments had not actually been provided, rendering the claims fraudulent.
The couple then allegedly forged oxycodone prescriptions. Those, along with kickbacks, were given to the patients used in the scheme. Some of the patients used the oxycodone pills and others sold them to the central defendant, in this case for cash, at which point he resold them.
Medicare fraud is a serious crime. Anyone accused of it in Florida should explore their legal options. An experienced criminal defense attorney can provide more options for those facing such charges.
Source: Tampa Bay Times, “Tampa inquiry finds Medicare fraud paid for illegal oxycodone” Patty Ryan, Mar. 28, 2014