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Mafia now involved in miami medicare fraud

Posted on October 07, 2009 3:00 AM EST

Miami Medicare fraud lawyers can now expect to represent Mafia crime families in South Florida federal courts. The allure of fast money and minimal prison sentences has attracted Mafia families to enter into this fast growing federal crime. Federal investigators claim that two reasons have led to the Mafia's involvement in Miami Medicare fraud. First, Medicare fraud can be more financially productive than drug trafficking or racketeering. Second, the prison sentences under the federal sentencing guidelines are vastly less severe than narcotics and other types of crimes usually committed by crime syndicates. Miami criminal lawyers have seen a steady increase in Miami Medicare fraud cases over the past several years.

Individuals that are involved in Medicare fraud typically bill the federal healthcare system for treatments or medical devices that are never provided to patients. People are paid kickbacks for going to clinics and providing their personal information for treatments they never receive. Major Medicare fraud schemes have been uncovered in other cities besides Miami. Fraud schemes have been found in Los Angeles, Detroit, Houston and New York. In many cases, federal investigators have determined that Mafia crime families are at the very heart of Medicare fraud enterprises.

In May 2009, 11 members of the New York Bonanno family were indicted for their involvement in a Miami Medicare fraud ring. They were charged with identity theft and conspiracy to commit murder in case where they allegedly stole Medicare numbers and were prepared to murder government witnesses. Not only are crime families involved in the healthcare fraud schemes, but common everyday criminals have gotten into the act.

The results of these Miami Medicare fraud schemes have led to many cases of violence. In 2007, a pharmacy owner was found dead, lying in a pool of her own blood at the hands of her own cousin. Federal authorities were investigating the pharmacy for Medicare fraud. Investigators believe the crimes are linked. A Miami clinic owner was found shot to death in the back seat of his car. The murder occurred soon after 50 Medicare suppliers were served with search warrants.

Federal investigators believe the violence stemming from the Medicare fraud case is a result of disputes over money or are attempts to silence witnesses who are cooperating with the federal government. The murders appear to be the result of professional hits that generally go unsolved. The cases involving Medicare fraud and violence have been increasing exponentially over the past several years in Miami. Only time will tell if law enforcement will be able to quell the fraud and violence.

Mafia, Violent Criminals Turn to Medicare Fraud, Associated Press, October 7, 2009.
Categories: Fraud