Fed Fraud Strike Force Arrests 38 in South Florida Medicare Scam

On May 9, investigators said the arrests of 38 people are the result of an operation conducted by a strike force made up of a team of federal, state and local investigators who have been concentrating on Medicare fraud — ”especially prevalent” in South Florida — since early March.
According to remarks made by Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales at a press conference with Michael Leavitt, Secretary of Health and Human Services, “the indictments outline various types of fraudulent schemes. Those schemes included compounded aerosol medications — a process where a pharmacist makes medicine to meet a special medical need for a patient, rather than dispensing less expensive commercial pharmaceuticals. The indictments allege that the homemade medications were not necessary and that they were only prescribed to defraud Medicare.
“In one example, Eduardo Moreno, the owner of multiple DME companies, was arrested on April 7 after being named in a six-count indictment on fraud charges. Two of Moreno’s companies – Brenda Medical Supply Inc., and Faster Medical Equipment Inc. – allegedly billed Medicare for more than $1.9 million for services that were not medically necessary. The FBI has seized of some of Moreno’s assets, including a new Rolls Royce Phantom worth approximately $200,000. rollsroyce.jpg
Gonzales said that some of the 38 defendants allegedly paid Medicare recipients for use of their Medicare card numbers so that the defendants could submit fraudulent claims.
”We believe scores of shell companies have opened and obtained Medicare supplier numbers in Miami-Dade County alone,” Gonzales said.
“The landscape for fraud in south Florida has changed dramatically over the past two years. CMS has taken aggressive action to curb infusion therapy fraud and other organized fraud actions,” said Leslie Norwalk, acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “We have opened two satellite offices that are dedicated to combating fraud in high-risk areas and we will soon be opening a third. We are sending a strong message to those who seek to defraud the programs that if they engage in fraudulent activity, they will be caught and no longer able to take advantage of the programs to their own gain.”