|October 25, 2016
Contact: Whitney Ray
Phone: (850) 245-0150
|en Español||Print Version||Tweet|
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Attorney General Pam Bondi, with United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Wifredo A. Ferrer, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Miami Field Office, today announced that 10 assisted living facility owners are charged for allegedly receiving kickbacks and participating in a health care fraud scheme.
“This extensive investigation uncovered a massive kickback scheme targeting our seniors, but working together with our great federal partners, this health care fraud scheme has been thwarted and 10 suspects are now in police custody,” said Attorney General Bondi.
According to the investigation, the defendants received cash kickbacks and bribes in return for referring residents in their assisted living facilities to the former owner of Florida Pharmacy Inc., a Miami-Dade company, for prescription medications and durable medical equipment paid for by Medicare and Florida Medicaid.
The 10 defendants also allegedly signed and submitted Non-Institutional Medicaid Provider Agreements in which the defendants falsely represented compliance with state and federal laws and all agency rules contained in the Florida Medicaid Provider Handbook. The Florida Medicaid Provider Handbook prohibits the solicitation and receipt of kickbacks. The defendants also allegedly caused their assisted living facilities to submit false claims to Medicaid.
The following defendants are charged in connection to this scheme:
- Alicia Almeida, 56, of Miami Lakes;
- Norma Casanova, 67, of Miami Lakes;
- Yeny De Erbiti, 51, of Miami;
- Maribel Galvan, 43, of Miami Lakes;
- Marlene Marrero, 60, of Miami;
- Blanca Orozco, 69, of Miramar;
- Dianelys Perez, 34, of Miami Gardens;
- Jorge Rodriguez, 57, of Hialeah;
- Rene Vega, 57, of Miami; and
- Osniel Vera, 47, of Hialeah.
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 $500 million in settlements and judgments. Additionally, the MFCU investigates allegations of patient abuse, neglect, and exploitation in facilities receiving payments under the Medicaid program.