Federal Moratorium Leading to Miami Convictions
To combat health care fraud, the federal government has the power to prohibit unscrupulous health care providers from enrolling in Medicare and Medicaid. In 2013 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services exercised that power to ban several providers and ambulance suppliers in the Miami, Houston, and Chicago areas from enrolling. This ban was extended recently.
Since then, the Feds have taken full advantage of the moratorium and convicted multiple companies in the greater Miami area. More than 125 enrollments have been denied and criminal charges have steadily increased every year with 71 in 2013 and 80 in 2014. This is nearly double the number of charges brought in 2011 (37) and 2012 (39).
The purpose of the moratorium is to prevent new fraudulent actors from entering into the system and frequently switching to new provider identification numbers. Instead, these shady players are forced to use the same identification numbers to perpetrate their fraudulent billing. This puts those players at risk of being red-flagged by federal investigators. As a result, the Feds are able to continue building cases and convincing providers caught in a fraudulent scheme to cooperate, provide information, and identify other criminal conspirators.
The South Florida Medicare Fraud Strike Force—an arm of the Department of Health and Human Services—has been the driving investigate unit in the Miami area. The Strike Force is comprised of lawyers, FBI and HHS agents. In addition, they have health policy analysts and nurses on staff. Across the country the Strike Force has instituted 1,227 criminal actions and 1,773 indictments, and recovered $1,579,830,247.
The Miami office of the Strike Force is especially active because of Florida’s reputation as the epicenter of health care fraud in the country. The newest form of fraud that is being perpetrated to get around the moratorium is via the Medicare Part D drug program.
It is important to remember that federal investigators are not the only ones focusing on Florida’s health care providers. Because Medicaid is a joint program between the state and federal governments, state charges can also be levied against an individual accused of health care fraud, and multiple sections of the Florida state statutes cover health care fraud, as do a variety of federal statutes. If you are accused of health care fraud, contesting the charges is a complicated and drawn-out process, as the authorities will often throw multiple violations at you in attempt to get one to stick. You need an attorney who is experienced in both federal and state proceedings for white-collar crimes.
If You Think You Need A Lawyer, You Do. Call NOW!!
Have you (or has a loved one) been arrested in a healthcare fraud case? Or do you work for a healthcare company that is under investigation? Have law enforcement agents approached you to talk about the operations of your employer? Are you looking for a skilled attorney who can help defend you against these serious charges in federal or Florida state court?
If you think you need a lawyer, you do. Please contact Attorney Tony Moss at the Tony Moss Firm, L.L.C. to discuss any defense matters. He has offices in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, and is prepared to put his 27 years of experience to work for you.