|July 13, 2017
Contact: Whitney Ray
Phone: (850) 245-0150
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, the United States Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today announced a nationwide health care fraud take down stopping schemes defrauding Medicare and Medicaid out of more than a billion dollars. In Florida alone, authorities arrested 87 defendants for participation in various fraud schemes involving more than $150 million in fraudulent billing.
“This massive fraud takedown targeted people abusing our health care industry and, in some cases, profiting from patients trying to recover from opioid addiction,” said Attorney General Bondi. “The arrests and recoveries announced today should serve as a warning to anyone scheming to commit health care fraud that we will find them and they will be held accountable."
As part of the collaborative efforts, the MFCU, FBI and HHS-OIG arrested a Florida licensed insurance agent from Hialeah for allegedly scheming to defraud Medicare and Medicaid. According to the joint investigation, Beatrice Carrasco, 49, conspired to enroll people living outside of the country into Medicare Advantage plans and Florida Medicaid. As a result of Carrasco’s and her co-conspirator’s actions, Medicare and Florida Medicaid paid more than a million dollars in payments and premiums on behalf of ineligible individuals residing in Nicaragua.
Carrasco faces one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud. If convicted, Carrasco faces up to 10 years in prison. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Hagerenesh Simmons, from Florida Attorney General Bondi’s MFCU is prosecuting this case.
For more information on the cases involved in the national health care fraud takedown, including a sober home scheme in South Florida, click here. Related court documents and information may be found here.
The Florida Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigates and prosecutes providers that intentionally defraud the state's Medicaid program through fraudulent billing practices. Medicaid fraud essentially steals from Florida's taxpayers. From Jan. 2011 to the present, Attorney General Bondi's MFCU has obtained more than $700 million in settlements and judgments. Additionally, the MFCU investigates allegations of patient abuse, neglect, and exploitation in facilities receiving payments under the Medicaid program. In 2017, the MFCU was awarded the Inspector General's Award for Excellence in Fighting Fraud, Waste and Abuse. This award is presented annually to the nation’s top MFCU by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.