MIAMI (CBS4) – A two day sweep across seven American cities has resulted in the largest medicare fraud roundup in U.S. history.
Federal agents indicted 91 suspects they say were responsible for more than $300 million dollars in stolen taxpayer money. More than half of that amount was scammed right here in Miami.
Starting yesterday, agents from the U-S Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s Office of Investigations plus agents from the F-B-I raided dozens of homes and medical clinics throughout South Florida.
Among the clinics: Biscayne Milieu, which supposedly offered mental health counseling.
Prosecutors say Biscayne Milieu was unique because clinic officials and patient recruiters actually brought indigent and homeless people in from out of state to use their Medicare number to file false claims.
Wifredo Ferrer, the US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida told CBS4 Investigator Stephen Stock, who broke this story on Tuesday, that “this is what’s pretty outrageous about this case. These individuals out of state were targeted for a couple of reasons. Like we said, they were down on their luck. A lot of them had a lot of addiction issues either alcohol or drugs.
According to the indictment, the clinic billed Medicare for 55 million dollars during the last four years.
In addition to Miami, the other cities targeted by Federal agents included Chicago, Brooklyn, Detroit, Baton Rouge, Houston and Dallas.
Of the 91 people indicted, 45 were from Miami. All but three were arrested and charged. It’s believed the trio, not in custody, has fled the country.
While prosecutors hope this bust sends a message, one agent told Stock that he expects this fraud to continue until Congress makes drastic changes to the entire system.