In yet another prosecution intended to deflate the notion that South Florida is a “haven” for Medicare fraud, federal authorities broke up a $200 million operation that they say was claiming, among other allegations, to have provided psychological counseling services to Alzheimer's patients.
Feds break up $200 million Medicare scam
The 13-count indictment charges four individuals and two businesses with paying kickbacks to other Medicare providers and patients in exchange for providing billing information and making it appear that patients were eligible to receive counseling services when they were not.
The services were either not medically necessary or never provided at all. For example, American Therapeutic Corp. routinely claimed to have provided intensive mental illness treatments to patients whose dementia and diminished mental capacity would not have allowed them to benefit from psychological counseling.
Charged were American Therapeutic Corp. and Medlink Professional Management Group, along with Lawrence Duran, the owner and manager of both. ATC President and CEO Marianella Valera was charged, as were ATC Vice President Judith Negron and ATC Marketing Director Margarita Acevedo.
“Today's arrests and search warrants give notice to anyone involved in fraudulent healthcare practices that there are no ‘safe havens' for their businesses in South Florida,” FBI acting special agent in charge William Maddalena said in a news release.
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