|February 24, 2011
Media Contact: Jenn Meale
Phone: (850) 245-0150
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TALLAHASSEE, FL - Attorney General Pam Bondi announced that a Miami-Dade County resident is in custody after they allegedly defrauded the Florida Medicaid program out of more than $586,000. Miyuki J. Hasegawa, 31, of Miami, surrendered to the jail on January 31 on a felony warrant by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.
“Anyone being able to defraud the Florida Medicaid program of this much of taxpayer money is appalling,” said Attorney General Bondi. “Our Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is dedicated to finding these criminals, with the help of our partners, and making sure that they face the proper penalties.”
Investigators with the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, with assistance from the Florida Department of Health, discovered that the defendant, who is licensed as a speech language pathologist, was employed by The Center for Bilingual Speech and Language Disorders, Inc. (CBSLD), a Medicaid provider located in Miami.
The investigation revealed that CBSLD and the defendant conspired to allow speech language assistants employed by CBSLD to provide unsupervised speech therapy to Medicaid recipients, who were mostly children, in violation of Florida State statutes, Department of Health regulations and Medicaid program rules. CBSLD would also at times bill the Medicaid program while making it appear that the speech language pathologists had provided the therapy. A review of patient records seized by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and a review of other documents revealed that between December 2006 and August 2009, CBSLD was paid over $586,000 by the Agency for Health Care Administration for these fraudulent claims.
In July 2010, investigators with the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit arrested five speech language pathologists and assistants employed by CBSLD and in November 2010, three additional speech language pathologists and assistants from CBSLD were arrested for defrauding the Medicaid program out of nearly $779,000 by engaging in the same scheme. The investigation into CBSLD’s conduct remains ongoing.
Hasegawa is charged with grand theft and Medicaid fraud, both first-degree felonies and conspiracy to commit Medicaid fraud, a second-degree felony. If convicted of all charges, she could face up to $30,000 in fines and up to 75 years in prison. The case is being prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution.