A doctor in Florida recently entered a plea in federal court after being accused of breaking the law regarding treatment he is said to have provided to expatriates of the United States in another country. Authorities claimed that the doctor unlawfully billed the Medicare program in the United States after charging the patients for his professional services. The man’s son was reportedly also involved in a Medicare and Medicaid fraud scheme earlier in 2015.
The doctor and his son ran a clinic in a South American town. They worked under the umbrella of Florida Healthcare Plus, which is no longer open for business. The two were accused of enrolling at least 1,000 expatriates in the network between 2011 and 2014. Medicare does not allow coverage to beneficiaries if medical services have been rendered in a foreign land.
The illicit operation is also said to have been conducted in the Dominican Republic in addition to the offenses that took place in Nicaragua. Authorities stated that those involved in the fraudulent scheme made it appear that the expatriates resided in Florida. This was accomplished by using the names and addresses of the beneficiaries’ friends and relatives.
Officials say that this federal criminal case is the first of its kind to occur in Florida. The doctor was sentenced to four years in prison following a negotiated plea agreement with prosecutors. Other Floridians may find themselves facing white collar crime charges that involve allegations of Medicare and Medicaid fraud. In such cases, a person has the right to seek advice and guidance about how best to proceed when planning to enter a plea and defend against the accusations. An experienced criminal defense attorney would be able to develop a defense strategy focused on obtaining the most positive outcome possible.
Source: Miami Herald, “New twist on Medicare scam: Services actually were provided — in Nicaragua“, Jay Weaver, Accessed on Sept. 4, 2015