Articles Posted in Fraud

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A Gainesville doctor convicted of 162 counts of health care fraud for false billing and using drugs not approved in the United States was sentenced Friday to effectively serve one year in prison and to pay a fine of more than $1.13 million plus restitution.

The doctor, who had practices in Gainesville and Hawthorne, was convicted in May 2016 and sentenced Friday in federal court.

She was ordered to serve one year and one day in prison on each count. The terms will run concurrently. She will also serve three years’ of supervised release and perform 400 hour of community service. In addition to the fine, she was ordered to pay more than $1 million in restitution.

The woman was indicted in April 2014 on 210 counts of health care fraud and money laundering. She was charged with submitting fraudulent claims for unnecessary tests, buying drugs from outside the U.S. not approved for use here and giving those drugs to patients without their knowledge or consent.

She was convicted of falsely billing Medicare, Medicaid and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, in addition to billing insurance companies for counseling, treatment and training procedures that were never performed.

The woman’s Gainesville office was raided by authorities in 2011. In 2013, she closed her practice.

A conviction for health care fraud is devastating. In addition to potential criminal and civil sanctions, charges like these could wreak havoc on professional and personal reputations and there is the very real possibility of losing professional licenses. Any Floridian who suspects that they are under investigation for health care fraud or who has been charged with a related crime should seek the advice of our Florida Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton as early in the process as possible to start building the most powerful defense possible. The risks are extremely great in these situations.

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A former Polk County school principal was arrested Friday morning on allegations of fraud and theft.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office has charged the 46-year-old former principal with 60 counts of dealing in stolen property, 16 counts passing forged or altered documents, 2 counts fraudulent use of credit card, 1 count obtaining property by fraud, 1 count money laundering, and 1 count grand theft.

Detectives said the crimes occurred while the woman was principal. She resigned as principal in June 2015 and was hired in July 2015 as Assistant Director of Academics at another school. Detectives said the woman resigned from that position in Sep. 2016 when confronted by school officials about suspected fraud and theft–a total of $105,426.

The woman was arrested on Jan. 10, 2017 for grand theft fraud, fraudulent use of credit card, money laundering, and criminal use of personal ID. She was released from jail two days later, on Jan. 12, after posting a $39,000 bail. This case is still pending an outcome, officials said.

The woman was arrested Friday, July 21, at her home in north Lakeland. She will have a first appearance hearing Saturday morning, July 22, 2017.

Anyone can be arrested for a crime, as this case shows. Theft and fraud crimes are taken very seriously in Florida, and can come with severe penalties and consequences. Whether it is a misdemeanor or felony theft or fraud offense it can have serious consequences that will haunt you for the rest of your life. If convicted of theft or fraud, you are looking at serious jail time and steep fines. Any type of theft or fraud conviction will more than likely affect your job. Employers do not generally like to hire people who have been arrested or convicted of theft or fraud, which could make it very difficult to support yourself both now and in the future. Therefore, it is very important to hire a skilled criminal defense lawyer who understands the consequences a theft or fraud conviction and what it can mean to your future.

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Federal prosecutors have said that two owners of psychological service companies have been convicted of an $8.9 million fraud scheme that billed Medicare for unnecessary or nonexistent tests on nursing home patients in four Gulf Coast states.

The owners, a Slidell, Louisiana man and his 63-year-old mother, plan to appeal, according to reports.

Each owned companies in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

A jury convicted them Tuesday of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and of conspiracy to make false statements about health care. According to reports, the jurors also found them responsible for $8.9 million in fraudulent payments.

Two psychologists who worked for them pleaded guilty last year, admitting $5.6 million in fraudulent claims.

Medicare fraud is rampant across the United States. Medicare fraud prosecutions are highly specific and headed by the U.S. Attorney’s Health Care Fraud Division. With that said, defense of Medicare fraud allegations requires an attorney that understands billing practices, compliance issues, and medical necessity.

Some examples of medicare fraud include:

  • Submitting false claims
  • Billing for services or supplies not provided
  • Billing for medical equipment not prescribed by doctors
  • Submitting claims for services or supplies for a patient who does not exist or who the provider has no physician-patient relationship
  • Up-Coding or billing a higher code than the service actually performed
  • Performing additional treatments or tests which are not clinically necessary
  • Duplicate billing

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A woman has been arrested in Pasco County after allegedly renting out homes she didn’t own.

Authorities said the 43-year-old was arrested for scheming to defraud after allegedly pretending to be the owner of two homes — one in Holiday and the other in New Port Richey.

According to reports, she was renting out the property for $800-$850 a month.

The actual owner of the property was apparently unaware of this transaction.

The woman also had active felony warrants for grand theft and unlicensed real estate broker or sales associate in Hillsborough County.

There are many reasons why good, normally upstanding people end up facing fraud or other white collar crimes charges. Whatever the reason, our Pasco County White Collar Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton have one goal, which is to defend you against the charges. This means investigating your case thoroughly and presenting the strongest case possible to help you get back to leading a normal life.

We represent people throughout the state of Florida that are under investigation or facing formal state or federal charges for a wide range of white collar crimes, including:

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Three men were arrested Thursday on charges of using a skimming device at a bank ATM in Osceola County, according to deputies.

The men, 36, 22, and 38 were arrested during a traffic stop. Investigators said the men were seen removing a skimming device from the ATM.

An investigation apparently began Oct. 20 after suspicious activity was reported at a SunTrust Bank located in Celebration.

All three men were booked into the Osceola County Jail.

Credit and debit card skimming is a form of theft that can happen in many different ways. The most common way is stealing personal information through ATMs. How does it work? High tech devices are installed on ATM machines that see a high volume of customers so that every time a person uses their card, their information gets stored on the device. A magnetic card reading device is installed on top of the ATM’s card reader, which looks identical to the real ATM reader underneath them, which is why customers do not usually pay them any mind.

The skimming device does not interrupt the ATM’s normal functions, so customers can still withdraw their cash, but remain unaware that their data has been stolen. While a person is sliding their card into the device to get cash, the skimming device saves and stores the card information.

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The mayor of the City of Tavares was suspended from his office by the governor of Florida on Thursday afternoon.

Mayor Robert William Wolfe was charged a day earlier with insurance fraud, a third-degree felony. He bonded out of jail Wednesday evening.

According to Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s executive order, Wolfe “is prohibited from performing any official act, duty or function of public office.”

The city’s vice mayor, Lori Pfister, has been moved to the position of mayor.

The State Attorney’s Office claims that in February, Wolfe filed a $9,000 claim with his insurance company, saying his home was damaged and he needed to rent a home. However, an investigation by the Department of Financial Services found that he never left his property.

It has been estimated that insurance fraud costs the industry more than $80 billion each year. The tricky thing about insurance fraud is that it can be difficult to prove someone guilty because of the way these types of crimes are usually committed. If you have been accused of insurance fraud, you may be an innocent party who had little to nothing to do with a crime. Our Lake County White Collar Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton will investigate your case until we get to the bottom of any alleged criminal activity, so that we can protect your interests and fight for your rights.

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A New Port Richey couple has been arrested on charges of organized fraud, grand theft and mortgage fraud tied to the sale of investment offerings in Clearwater.

The Florida Office of Financial Regulation announced on Friday the couple is accused of defrauding at least 13 Floridians out of about $500,000.

According to the OFR, potential investors were allegedly recruited through “free” real estate investment seminars held at various hotels throughout the Tampa Bay area. At the seminars, attendees were offered investments in an assisted living facility. The facility never came into operation, authorities claim, and instead the pair allegedly used investor funds for personal expenses, including the purchase of a home in New Port Richey.

When arrested separately on June 24 and July 13 the man and wife were believed to be recruiting investors for a new venture involving multi-level marketing and real estate projects.

The crime of fraud is defined as deceiving another person for financial gain. Organized fraud is any type of fraud committed by an organized group in order to steal from unsuspecting individuals. These charges are quite serious and carry severe penalties. Fraud charges are often investigated by federal agencies such as the FBI, IRS and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

A few types of organized fraud include:

  • Get Rich Quick Schemes
  • Phishing: obtaining sensitive personal information, like online usernames and passwords.
  • Bank Fraud
  • Investment Fraud
  • Money Laundering
  • Mail Fraud
  • Insurance Fraud
  • Counterfeiting
  • Credit Card Fraud

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The Justice Department announced Wednesday it’s charging hundreds of individuals across the country with committing Medicare fraud worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

This is the largest takedown in history, in regards to the number of people charged and the loss amount, according to the Justice Department.

The majority of the cases being prosecuted involve separate fraudulent billings to Medicare, Medicaid or both for treatments that were never provided.

In one case, a Detroit clinic that was actually found to be a front for a narcotics diversion scheme billed Medicare for more than $36 million, the Justice Department said.

The actual numbers:

  • $900 million in false billing
  • $38 million sent from Medicare and Medicaid to one clinic to carry out medically unnecessary treatments
  • $36 million billed to Medicare by a Detroit clinic that was actually a front for a narcotics diversion scheme
  • 1,000 law enforcement personnel involved
  • 301 defendants charged across the United States
  • 61 of those charged are medical professionals
  • 36 federal judicial districts involved
  • 28 of those charged are doctors

A doctor in Texas has been charged with participating in schemes to bill Medicare for “medically unnecessary home health services that were often not provided.”

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Chicago Bulls legend Scottie Pippen invested more than $20 million with a financial adviser he says had come highly recommended by the team who has just been sentenced to three years behind bars for fraud.

The 66-year-old former money advisor was convicted of a variety of fraud schemes that included forging Pippen’s signature on a $1.4 million loan that he used to pay off personal debts.

In his ruling, the judge found that the advisor had lied at trial about forging Pippen’s signature as well as by claiming he’d gotten the go-ahead to apply for a second loan in the name of another victim.

In addition to the prison time, the judge ordered the man to forfeit $2.7 million and pay an additional $1.5 million in restitution, including $400,000 directly to Pippen.

The man was convicted by a jury in 2014 of five counts of bank fraud. Prosecutors claim he illegally obtained a total of about $3 million in loans from Oak Brook-based Leaders Bank, which included the $1.4 million loan that he claimed Pippen needed to invest in a private jet. The man apparently instead spent most of the money for his own benefit, making mortgage payments and paying other investment clients, prosecutors said.

Bank fraud is a criminal offense defined as deliberately and knowingly carrying out a scheme to defraud a financial institution. Basically, bank fraud is the use of fraudulent means to obtain money, assets, or other property that is owned or in the control of a bank or other financial institution. Bank fraud can be committed in a variety of ways including the following:

  • Mail fraud
  • Wire fraud
  • Making false statements on loan applications
  • Falsifying documents
  • Forging checks
  • Loan fraud
  • Counterfeiting bank documents

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A 38-year-old Spring Hill man pleaded guilty to making a false statement in an application to obtain a United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) loan earlier this month.

He faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.

According to the plea agreement, the man purchased his home in Spring Hill for $110,000 on September 28, 2010. He and his wife apparently received a loan of $49,650 from HUD’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), as a second mortgage on the home. The NSP was established by HUD to provide emergency assistance to stabilize communities with high rates of abandoned and foreclosed homes. The NSP was designed to assist households whose annual incomes are up to 120 percent of the area median. According to this loan program, the man would not have been required to repay the loan if he lived in the home for 15 years.

In his application to participate in the program, the man apparently provided false and incomplete information related to his debts, assets, employment, income, and tax returns. According to reports,  he failed to disclose a debt from another loan that he had received from another government program to obtain a different home. Reports also indicate that he did not disclose income he earned from his DJ business, or that he owned certain assets, including two cars and a boat.

This case was investigated by the HUD Office of Inspector General and the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Adam M. Saltzman.

One of the most common kinds of financial institution fraud involves loan or mortgage application fraud. In the past decade or so, many bank and mortgage company officials have encouraged individuals to misstate their income and other items on mortgage or loan applications. When these borrowers fail to make their payments, the bank then reviews the applications, looking for misrepresentations of income or other falsified information. If the banks happen to find something, they will then hand the case over to the federal government for prosecution.

The bottom line is that the banks and mortgage lenders attempt to use the government as a collection agency, to collect on bad loans they encouraged people to take in the first place.

It is important to understand that you can be charged in federal court for mortgage or bank fraud under the following circumstances:

  • The bank or mortgage company knew you were making a false statement
  • Bank or mortgage company employees encouraged you to misrepresent the facts
  • Regardless of how much of the information on your application was inaccurate.
  • If your loan application was denied and the information provided was false

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