Billion Dollar Medicare Scam in Miami Is the Largest in U.S. History
One of the state’s wealthiest health care 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 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. They noted that while his health care network billed $1 billion for fraudulent medical services, Medicare paid Esformes’ skilled-nursing and assisted-living facilities about $500 million since 2009.
“This is the largest single criminal health care fraud case ever brought against individuals by the Department of Justice,” the criminal division’s assistant attorney general, Leslie R. Caldwell, said Friday during a news conference at the U.S. attorney’s office in Miami.
Source/more: Miami Herald
David Wingate is an elder law attorney at the Elder Law Office of David Wingate, LLC. The elder law office services clients with powers of attorneys, living wills, Wills, Trusts, Medicaid and asset protection. The Elder Law office has locations in Frederick and Montgomery Counties, Maryland.