Florida crook gets a decade in prison for Medicare fraud

Not the same amenities as a million-dollar McMansion

When Luis Alejandro Sanz got out of prison for drug trafficking, he soon found his new criminal fortunes in Miami’s emerging cottage industry: Medicare fraud.

The convicted felon started a home healthcare company, using his wife Elizabeth as the straw owner to hide himself from authorities.

The couple cashed in. Their Miami-Dade business, Ideal Home Health, billed Medicare $45 million for purportedly providing nursing services for homebound diabetic patients — raking in $30 million in taxpayer dollars.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams sent Luis Sanz, 58, to prison for 10 years and Elizabeth Acosta Sanz, 45, for nine years, saying the couple made a “mockery” of the beleaguered federal program for the elderly and disabled. The Sanzes, who bought a $1.3 million West Miami-Dade home with their ill-gotten gains, paid kickbacks to recruiters and patients for services that were never provided or needed…

“Every single day, they had one purpose: to steal as much money as they could from Medicare,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Bernstein told the judge. “Medicare paid because these people were good at fooling Medicare…”

“The case of Luis Sanz really encapsulates what’s been happening in Miami” since the 1990s, when many drug traffickers began gravitating to the Medicare rackets because it was seen as profitable and less risky.

Do you think that Florida voters electing a governor whose clinics set the record for a criminal fine for fraud might have given these crooks that idea? Republican Rick Scott’s firm – Columbia/HCA – paid over $2 billion fine for fraud.

Last year, Medicare adopted new measures designed to combat the failed “pay and chase” model of doling out dollars for claims, then pursuing the scammers after they have run off with the money. As part of the Affordable Care Act, Medicare received $350 million to develop stricter screening of healthcare providers and more sophisticated software for detecting fraudulent claims…

The upgrades in screening and technology came in response to massive taxpayer losses in South Florida — regarded as the nation’s healthcare fraud capital — and other parts of the country.

Yes – of course the Party-formerly-known-as-Republican opposed these changes.

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