It was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who once said ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’ Unfortunately, there are many people in our society that neglect their responsibility and abuse their power. Those who commit fraud against people who are disabled are especially heinous. Recently, the state of Florida has had to deal with an overwhelming amount of Medicare fraud. The estimated cost of the most recently interrupted scheme of illegal billings is around $200 million dollars, and it was perpetrated by at least ten different offenders. So far, they have all either pled guilty or been convicted of crimes ranging from money laundering to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. There were several different companies involved in the scheme, which involved falsifying records and intentional misreporting of facts to Medicare.
Essentially what these criminals were doing was incorrectly reporting that some patients qualified for home health care when, in fact, they did not. Once these falsified certifications were sent to Medicare, the defendants would then bill Medicare for services that were not only unnecessary, but we usually not even provided. The scheme went even further into the health care industry when perpetrators began contacting legitimate medical facilities and providers and offered them compensation for help in falsifying documents. These providers, which even included some doctors, would receive kick-backs for giving personal information to the defendants. So far, ten people have been convicted of Medicare fraud as a result of this scheme in the last year. Those convicted of money laundering crimes have been sentenced or will be given sentences of at least three years in prison. Those convicted of more serious crimes will receive stiffer sentences. All of those sentenced and facing sentencing will be responsible for repaying the money that they essentially stole from the state. Any personnel working as care givers will also have their state certifications revoked and will no longer be allowed to practice once they have served their sentences. Florida has vowed to arrest and punish all of those responsible for defrauding the state of its tax dollars. With every state in the union in a financial crunch, those dollars are needed now more than ever. Florida has made press statements recently that it has recovered over $125 million in fraudulent Medicare claims in the last year, and is making promises to recover as much as it possibly can in the next.