❝ One of the state’s wealthiest healthcare operators was arrested Friday at his Miami Beach waterfront estate on charges of orchestrating the nation’s biggest Medicare fraud scheme — $1 billion.
Philip Esformes, 47, charged with two other defendants, is accused of exploiting his network of about 20 Miami-Dade skilled-nursing and assisted-living facilities to fleece the taxpayer-funded Medicare by filing false claims for services that were not necessary or in some instances not provided over the past 14 years.
❝ An unidentified local hospital referred some of the thousands of Medicare patients to his network through kickback payments to physicians and other medical professionals, according to an indictment.
Esformes is charged with conspiring with Arnaldo Carmouze, 56, a Palmetto Bay physician’s assistant, and Odette Barcha, 49, a former longtime director of outreach programs at Larkin Community Hospital in South Miami. Authorities would not confirm whether that was the local hospital at the center of the alleged scheme.
❝ Esformes is also accused of referring his own network of patients to other convicted healthcare fraud offenders, who swindled Medicare for mental health, prescription drug and home healthcare services and ultimately helped federal investigators target the Miami Beach business executive. According to the indictment, those kickbacks were “disguised” as payments for escort services for Esformes as well as related travel and hotel expenses.
Justice Department officials — along with South Florida’s U.S. attorney, the FBI and Health and Human Services agents — described the Esformes case as one for the record books in the nation’s long-standing battle against healthcare fraud…
“This is the largest single criminal healthcare fraud case ever brought against individuals by the Department of Justice,”…assistant attorney general, Leslie R. Caldwell, said Friday…
“The magnitude of alleged false claims in this scheme is staggering and outrageous, even by South Florida healthcare fraud standards,” said U.S. attorney Wifredo Ferrer…
Yes – by “Florida healthcare fraud standards”. Florida’s Republican governor got his management experience from a chain of clinics busted for fraud. Florida is the nation’s center for pill clinics providing opioids for junkies stretching from the East Coast to Texas.
Why Florida voters were dumb enough to put a clown like Rick Scott in charge is beyond comprehension. The proof is once again in the criminal pudding cooked up in his state. Nothing turned up by Florida coppers, state or local. Once again, it took the Department of Justice to turn up this batch of thieves stealing from the taxpayers’ till.