The legal fallout from the activities of the mental health care company American Therapeutic Corporation continued this week, as a Miami-area therapist was sentenced to 48 months in prison. The Medicare fraud scheme has been connected to $205 million in improper Medicare payments. The sentence was handed down in the Southern District of Florida.
Miami and South Florida remain a central focus area in the FBI's war against healthcare fraud. A new press release from the FBI explains how it has relied on well-funded multi-office task forces to investigate and prosecute defendants here in Miami. That approach is working so well here that the authorities are expanding around the nation with similar teams.
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.
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.
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.
Earlier this year, a Miami couple pleaded guilty to Medicare fraud in a deal with prosecutors. Based on the plea deal, a federal judge sentenced the couple to prison last week. Prosecutors accused the couple of committing health care fraud by submitting $45 million in false claims.
A group of small-town ambulance volunteers face a federal prosecution. New charges claim that the group enriched itself by submitting fraudulent billing for unnecessary services. The team of volunteers allegedly defrauded Medicare of around $880,000.
The U.S. attorney's office struck a deal with a Miami defendant this week, reducing his prison sentence in exchange for cooperation in a larger fraud prosecution. The defendant pled guilty to laundering funds as part of a massive health care fraud network.
A new federal report points to South Florida as a hotspot of healthcare fraud. This report coincides with last week's jury verdict against the operators of a Miami mental health center. Both of these developments are examples of how prosecutors are increasingly focused on healthcare fraud cases in South Florida.