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South Florida resident enters guilty plea to healthcare fraud charges

Posted on September 13, 2010 12:00 AM EST

A local woman entered into a guilty plea to Medicare fraud in United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Flor Crislongo pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud. The defendant appeared with her Miami criminal lawyer and admitted her involvement in a $23 million HIV infusion scheme to defraud the federal government. According to the indictment, the defendant was the owner operator of a medical center who hired a doctor to conduct unnecessary testing, sign falsified medical reports and authorize treatments for unnecessary HIV injection and infusion treatments. The purported patients received monetary kickbacks for allowing their Medicare accounts to be billed. The indictment alleges that the Medicare recipients claimed to receive medical benefits despite the fact that HIV infusion treatments were not needed or on some occasions not even provided.

In another unrelated case, two Miami-Dade County men were sentenced for their alleged involvement in bribing assisted living facilities, nursing homes and home healthcare companies to bill Medicare for services that were never provided. Both men involved in the case entered a guilty plea to one count of healthcare fraud. One defendant was sentenced to four years, while the other defendant was sentenced to 3 years in federal prison. Both defendants were looking at significantly more prison time, but cooperated with the authorities in the prosecution of the ringleader. The defendants received the benefit of a 5K, which allowed the judge presiding over the sentencing hearing to reduce the sentence based on the amount of cooperation provided.

Prior to his arrest, the ringleader fled to Costa Rica in an effort to avoid prosecution. The indictment alleges that he owned and operated four Miami-Dade clinics that submitted millions of dollars in bills to Medicare for claims involving medical equipment, unnecessary treatments and other medically related matters. This defendant has since been arrested and is awaiting extradition to the United States from Costa Rica. He had been previously indicted for healthcare fraud back in the 1990's, but was acquitted of all charges.

Both cases stemmed from investigations being conducted by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force. The Strike Force was implemented in 2007 and operates in more than seven districts across the country. To date, the investigatory group has secured the indictments of more than 810 defendants who as a group fraudulently billed Medicare in excess of $1.8 billion. Despite the activity of federal government and their unbridled efforts to quash the Medicare fraud problem, the news is replete with new arrests, new indictments and new conviction. If a person finds himself or herself being investigated by the law enforcement in this type of case, contact a Miami criminal law firm with experience defending Medicare fraud cases in federal court.

Woman Pleads Guilty to $23 Million Healthcare Fraud, The Miami Herald.com, September 13, 2010.

2 Miami-Dade Men Sentenced to Prison in Major Medicare Fraud Case, The Miami Herald.com, September 9, 2010.
Categories: Fraud