Federal law enforcement authorities charged 94 people with Medicare fraud. Those charged are accused of filing fraudulent claims with the publically funded healthcare program. Of the 94 people indicted, only 36 have been arrested. Twenty-five of those charged were allegedly linked to Miami Medicare fraud schemes. One of those indicted in Miami was Dr. Jorge J. Dieppa. According to court documents, he allegedly filed $103 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare for home healthcare, HIV treatment and for medical equipment. The authorities were unable to locate the doctor, but believe he is on vacation. Dieppa faces many years in jail as the amount of loss to the federal healthcare system is rather large. He should retain a Miami criminal attorney experienced in defending cases in federal court that deal with healthcare fraud. The arrests come just before the healthcare fraud summit to be headed up by the attorney general and a high level official from the Department of Human Services.
Other individuals charged and/or arrested were linked to Brooklyn, Baton Rouge, Houston and Detroit. This just happens to be some of the cities where the Medicare strike force is targeting their efforts. As posted in yesterday's blog, some of the defendants fraudulently billed Medicare for unneeded or unprovided physical and /or occupational therapies that never occurred or that were unnecessary. The case out of Brooklyn, New York involved undercover federal agents and wiretaps that were used to implicate a Russian mob syndicate. The ring leader of the healthcare fraud operation was taped discussing payoffs to patients and clinic personnel.
Over 350 federal agent were involved in the arrests and the case is largest Medicare fraud bust since the inception of the federal healthcare program which began operating in 1965. Undoubtedly, the indictments and arrests were supposed to occur before officials conducted the summit on Friday. The federal government had to show the money and manpower thrown at the Medicare fraud problem was working. Future summits have been planned in cities where healthcare fraud is most prevalent including Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia and New York. The Obama administration is under pressure to prove that they are curtailing the problem, especially in light of the fact that the healthcare programs budget was increased significantly with the passage of the new healthcare legislation.
Anyone operating clinics must keep a sharp on their operation. While some individuals intentional defraud the federal healthcare system, others make unintentional billing mistakes which could cause federal agents to look at their clinic. It is imperative that clinics make as few mistakes as possible or they may find themselves at the heart of a federal investigation, or worse prosecution in federal court. If clinic owners, doctors, physician's assistant or patients find themselves being contacted by federal agents, they must seek out a Miami criminal defense law firm experienced in defending these types of charges in federal court. As with all other types of cases, never speak to law enforcement prior to speaking to qualified legal counsel in order to protect your interests and rights.
Feds Charge 94 Medicare Fraud Suspects in Miami, Other Cities, The Miami Herald.com July 16, 2010.