Attorney General Pam Bondi News Release
September 24, 2015
Contact: Whitney Ray
Phone: (850) 245-0150

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Orange County Dentist Arrested for Defrauding Medicaid Out of More Than $5,500

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Altamonte Springs Police Department today arrested an Orange County dentist for allegedly defrauding the Florida Medicaid program. According to the investigation, Dr. Merys Downer-Garnette billed for services that were never rendered, not rendered as billed or double-billed, causing more than $5,500 in fraudulent claims to the state’s Medicaid program.

Downer-Garnette is charged with one count of Medicaid provider fraud, a third degree felony, and one count of organized scheme to defraud, a third degree felony. If convicted, Downer-Garnette faces up to 10 years in prison and more than $10,000 in fines and restitution. Attorney General Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigated the case. The State Attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit will prosecute the case.

Attorney General Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigates and prosecutes fraud involving providers that intentionally defraud the state's Medicaid program through fraudulent billing practices. Medicaid fraud essentially steals from Florida's taxpayers. Additionally, the MFCU investigates allegations of patient abuse, neglect, and exploitation in facilities receiving payments under the Medicaid program. From January 2011 to August 2015, Attorney General Bondi's MFCU has obtained more than $495 million in settlements and judgments.