A Medicade fraud with a total worth of $1 billion ended up with three people being charged. The fraud targeted elderly people and involved performing unnecessary services on patients.
The suspects are the owner of nursing and assisted living facilities in Miami, a physician’s assistant and a hospital administrator.
They had been charged with money laundry, health care fraud, obstruction and conspiracy.
The three suspects had filed false claims for services that had been considered to be unnecessary or that had not been provided.
Thousands of Medicare patients received payment requests from physicians and other health professionals.
The authorities did not mention whether the Larkin Community Hospital in South Miami had been the center of the scheme.
The kickbacks had been hidden under the pretense of payments for escort services, travel expenses and hotel receipts.
Since 2009, the illegal healthcare network billed almost $1 billion for pretended services, making the scheme one of the largest Medicare fraud in the history of the US.
The defender of the facilities owner said that his client is a victim of government allegations that come from people who broke the law and now try to obtain a reduction in sentences.
On the other hand, the prosecutors want to prove that Philip Esformes is a danger to the community. The suspect is accused that he continued to cheat the Medicare program even after being involved in a civil dispute almost a decade ago.
Esformes is also accused that he tried to make other two associates take the blame for the 2014 Medicare fraud case, and that he funded flights to Israel for his associates in order to help them avoid the trial. However, the flight plot had not been followed through, as the two brothers pleaded guilty.
The health facilities owner is thought of having acquired a wealth of $78 million out of the scheme, which includes the North Bay Road waterfront estate. Only in 2012, he made $10.4 million from fake payments and kickbacks.
The prosecutors believe that Esformes will continue the criminal activity and they recommended detention in order to protect the vulnerable healthcare beneficiaries and to prevent any more thefts from Medicare.
Philip Esformes ran 30 nursing homes and assisted living facilities that created a complex network of corrupt hospitals and doctors which received for treatment patients that did not need that specific care service. Even if in general the procedures proved to be unnecessary, some of the treatments proved to be harmful for patients. In the process, Medicare lost almost $1 billion.
The detention hearing is scheduled for August the 1st in Miami federal court.
Image Source: Pixabay
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