Attorney General Bill McCollum News Release
November 4, 2010
Media Contact: Jenn Meale
Phone: (850) 245-0150
South Florida Speech Pathologist and Assistants Arrested for Defrauding Medicaid
TALLAHASSEE, FL - Attorney General Bill McCollum today announced that two Miami-Dade County residents and a Broward County resident are in custody after they allegedly defrauded the Florida Medicaid program out of more than $239,000. Patricia Hernilda McCown, 39, of Pembroke Pines, was arrested today on a felony warrant by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit with assistance from the Pembroke Pines Police Department. Ivis M. Plasencia Borges, 46, of Miami and Miriam Gonzalez, 47, of Hialeah, were arrested yesterday on felony warrants by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit with assistance of the Miami-Dade Police Department.
Investigators with the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit discovered that the defendants, who are licensed as a Speech Language Pathologist and Assistants, were employed by The Center for Bilingual Speech and Language Disorders, Inc. (CBSLD). The investigation revealed that CBSLD and the defendants 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 then 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 pursuant to a lawful search warrant and a review of other documents revealed that between March 2006 and August 2009, CBSLD was paid over $239,000 by the Agency for Health Care Administration for these fraudulent claims. The Florida Department of Health assisted with the investigation.
In July, investigators with the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit arrested four speech language pathologists and assistants employed by CBSLD for defrauding the Medicaid program out of nearly $540,000 by engaging in the same scheme. The investigation into CBSLD’s conduct remains ongoing.
Patricia McCown is charged with grand theft, 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. Ivis Plasencia Borges is charged with grand theft, a first-degree felony and conspiracy to commit Medicaid fraud, a second-degree felony. If convicted of both charges, she could face up to $20,000 in fines and up to 45 years in prison. Miriam Gonzalez is charged with grand theft, a second degree felony and conspiracy to commit Medicaid fraud, a third-degree felony. If convicted of both charges, she could face up to $15,000 in fines and up to 20 years in prison. The case is being prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution.