Attorney General's Weekly Newsletter
Volume 9, Issue 339 • May 5, 2017
Attorney General Bondi's Weekly Briefing


My Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is among the best in the country in fighting fraud and abuse, and this week, we learned our office will be recognized with a prestigious national award. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General issues the National Award for Excellence in Fighting Fraud, Waste and Abuse to offices dedicated to stopping benefits fraud. This year HHS selected our MFCU for the top honor from 50 units nationwide.

This national award highlights the tireless efforts of my MFCU investigators to stop fraud and recover funds for taxpayers. Since taking office, we have recovered more than $689 million in stolen Medicaid funds through settlements and judgments. This award sends a strong message, that anyone stealing Medicaid funds in Florida will be arrested and prosecuted.

Our team is also being recognized for great collaboration with HHS and other federal agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Last year, working with HHS, FBI, U.S. Department of Justice and additional federal and state law enforcement agencies, MFCU helped execute the largest Medicare and Medicaid fraud takedown in United States history. As part of this coordinated takedown, MFCU charged six individuals involved in schemes causing more than $17 million in fraudulent billings. In total the joint investigation identified more than $200 million in fraud resulting in more than 100 arrests. A report released earlier this year, highlighted more than $165 million in total recoveries obtained by the Florida MFCU during the 2016 Fiscal Year, the second highest in the nation.

HHS will present MFCU with the top award on June 12 at the 2017 Honor Awards Ceremony in Washington D.C.—and we will continue to fight every day to stop Medicaid fraud in Florida and recover stolen funds.

In the News
Senior caretaker accused of falsifying patient care records, WCTV
Rick Scott declares opioid emergency in Florida, Florida Politics

Constitution Revision Committee holds meeting in Panama City, WJHG


Protecting Floridians
Justice Comes Calling for Men Charged with Stealing Cellphones

Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution announced three Broward County residents have been charged in connection to a string of retail thefts. The defendants allegedly stole smartphones and tablets from retail cellphone outlets in Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and St. Lucie Counties.

“Members of this organized retail theft ring targeted mobile phone stores in multiple Florida counties but thanks to our joint investigation, justice came calling—and now all three suspects have been arrested and charged in connection to this case,” said Attorney General Bondi. More.




Legislation to Help Fight Deadly Opioid Epidemic Headed to Governor

Attorney General Pam Bondi thanks Florida lawmakers for passing legislation that will bolster continued efforts to combat the national opioid epidemic in Florida. Today, the Senate voted in favor of HB 477. This legislation is a top priority for Attorney General Bondi, and now, it will go before Governor Rick Scott.

“I want to thank sponsors Representative Jim Boyd and Senator Greg Steube, and each member of the House and Senate that supported this important legislation. Fentanyl is a dangerous synthetic opioid that is being mixed with heroin and other drugs—often with deadly consequences,” said Attorney General Bondi. “This legislation has been my top priority this session because it gives us the tools we need to combat the trafficking of these deadly substances.” 
More.

Attorney General Bondi’s Statement on Passage of Sober Homes Legislation

Attorney General Pam Bondi issued the following statement on the unanimous passage of legislation that will help protect recovering addicts in Florida and expand the authority of the Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution to prosecute patient brokering crimes:

“I want to thank Representative Bill Hager and Senator Jeff Clemens for sponsoring this vital legislation and each member of the Florida Legislature who voted in favor of the bill,” said Attorney General Bondi. “The legislation will help protect recovering addicts from those trying to exploit and profit from their addiction.”

The legislation also creates a certification program for sober homes and prohibits deceptive, false or misleading marketing practices. Having passed favorably in both the House and Senate, this legislation will now go before Governor Rick Scott.


Former Leon County Home Care Provider Arrested

Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit announced the arrest of a former Hopewell Home Health employee for alleged fraud. According to a joint investigation by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Leon County Sheriff’s Office, Charlie Jenkins, 38, defrauded Medicaid during a nine-month period by submitting records with forged recipient signatures for services that Jenkins never performed.
More.


Events
Attorney General Pam Bondi interviewing with Dick Greco and Dan Maduri on News Talk Florida’s The News Hour. To listen to the interview, click here.











Attorney General Bondi visiting with Representative Jim Boyd, Representative Kionne L. McGhee, Miami Southridge Senior High School Principle Humberto J. Miret and members of the Miami Southridge Senior High School Football Team. The Spartans won the Class 8A state football championship title in December 2016.










Attorney General Bondi speaking to the Patronis Elementary School Student Council in Panama City Beach. The student council includes students in third, fourth and fifth grade.











The Florida Constitution Revision Commission convened for a public hearing Wednesday in Panama City at the Gulf Coast State College. Attorney General Bondi is honored to sit on the Commission that convenes every 20 years to review and propose changes to Florida’s Constitution. To learn more about the Commission, visit FLCRC.gov.




This week Florida celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Collins Building located in downtown Tallahassee, named in honor of Governor Thomas Leroy Collins. The Collins Building houses nearly a third of the Attorney General’s staff, including the Citizen Services Office, the Criminal Appeals Division, the Division of Victim Services and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Governor Collins is Florida’s 33rd Governor.













The Florida Bar appointed Kiersten Jensen, an assistant attorney general for the Attorney General’s Criminal Appeals Division, to the Government and Public Policy Advocacy Committee. Attorney General Bondi congratulates Kiersten on her appointment and thanks Kiersten for her continued service to Florida.