|June 8, 2016
Contact: Whitney Ray
Phone: (850) 245-0150
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution and the Miami-Dade Police Department today announced more than 30 arrests in connection to a long-term heath care fraud and money laundering investigation. The arrests include individuals from three separate organizations all using pharmacies set up for the specific purpose of defrauding the Medicare Part D Program.
“This was a complex scheme designed to defraud the Medicare program, hide the evidence and conceal the identities of those involved,” said Attorney General Bondi. “Thanks to the hard work of my Office of Statewide Prosecution and our local and federal partners, the targets of this investigation were arrested and the scheme stopped.”
Members of the criminal enterprises include check-cashers, pharmacists, pharmacy managers, pharmacy technicians and straw owners of the various pharmacies. A straw owner is an owner on paper whose identity is substituted for a true owner. These organizations employed straw owners to establish numerous pharmacies and apply for pharmacy licenses and the Drug Enforcement Administration credentials. According to the investigation, defendants purchased Medicare beneficiary numbers and physician prescriber identification numbers through illegitimate sources in order to submit thousands of fraudulent claims to Medicare for prescription medications never provided.
Once Medicare submitted the reimbursements to the pharmacy, defendants immediately laundered the funds in an attempt to mask the source of the money and elude subsequent administrative and law enforcement investigations. Defendants commonly moved funds between accounts without legitimate business purposes and/or cashed reimbursement checks at check-cashing stores.
The defendants face charges ranging from racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering, money laundering, organized scheme to defraud, filing a fraudulent insurance claim and criminal use of personal identification. The United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General and the Miami Dade Police Department assisted in the investigations.
Attorney General Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution is prosecuting the cases.