By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
A co-owner and operator of three Miami-area pharmacies pleaded guilty on December 6, 2012, for his part in a $23 million health care fraud scheme. The pharmacy owner allegedly admitted in the Florida Southern Federal District Court to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and one count of conspiracy to pay illegal health care kickbacks, according to a Department of Justice (DOJ) press release.
Click here to read the entire press release from the DOJ.
Illegal Kickbacks and Referrals.
According to court documents, the pharmacy owner allegedly admitted to paying illegal kickbacks to an unnamed number of co-conspirators in return for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiary information. That information was then used to submit fraudulent claims. A majority of the beneficiaries referred to the owner’s pharmacies reportedly resided at assisted living facilities (ALFs) in Miami.
The court documents state that the pharmacy owner also allegedly paid kickbacks to physicians in exchange for prescription referrals which were also billed to Medicare.
Medicare and Medicaid Allegedly Billed for Unused and Partially Used Medications.
As part of the scheme, the pharmacy owner allegedly instructed drivers working for his pharmacies to pick up unused medications from ALFs around Miami. The medications were then allegedly placed back into pill bottles. Unused and partially used medications were billed back to Medicare and Medicaid, according to court documents.
Click here to read the court documents on this case.
The pharmacy owner and his co-conspirators allegedly submitted more than $23 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare and Florida Medicaid programs.
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What do you think of this case? Is the Miami area just a hotbed for Medicare and Medicaid schemes? Please leave any thoughtful comment below.
United States of America v. Jose Carlos Morales. Case Number 12-23374, Preliminary Injunction and Supporting Memorandum of Law. (September 14, 2012). From: http://www.thehealthlawfirm.com/uploads/USA%20v%20Morales.pdf
Department of Justice. “Pharmacy Owner Pleads Guilty in Miami for Role in $23 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme.” Department of Justice . (December 6, 2012). From: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2012/December/12-crm-1461.html
About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.
Tag Words: Health Care Fraud, health care fraud scheme, Medicare, Medicaid, Medicare fraud, Medicaid fraud, Medicare investigation, Medicaid investigation, kickbacks, prescriptions referrals, Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs), pharmacy, Department of Justice (DOJ), defense attorney, defense lawyer, Florida health care attorney, Florida health care lawyer
"The Health Law Firm" is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. - The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
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