Nine Florida residents were arrested this morning by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) after being charged by a federal grand jury in Miami with health care fraud and conspiracy to commit health care fraud. The fraud scheme allegedly involved tens of millions of dollars in fraudulent health care billing by 30 South Florida physical therapy clinics.
According to allegations in three related indictments and statements by the government in federal court this afternoon, the defendants—Arisleidys Fernandez Delmas, 32; her mother Leidys Delmas Garcia, 51; her husband Pedro Hugo Prieto Garcia, 32; Daimara Borroto Garcia, 32; Elias Caises Maurino, 52; Yohana Iriza (a/k/a Yohana Lozada), 51; her ex-husband Gabriel Lozada, 50; their son Anthony Lozada, 23; and Julio Acosta Perez, 40—conspired to submit approximately $37 million in fraudulent health care claims to Blue Cross Blue Shield.
From approximately 2018 to present, the defendants allegedly paid kickbacks to beneficiaries of health insurance plans managed by Blue Cross. They offered these kickbacks to employees of JetBlue Airways, AT&T Inc., and TJX Companies Inc. to induce the beneficiaries to serve as patients at various South Florida physical therapy clinics. The defendants who owned the clinics then submitted fraudulent health insurance claims to Blue Cross for health care benefits that were medically unnecessary and not even provided.
These defendants also allegedly paid kickbacks and bribes to their co-defendants in return for referring additional Blue Cross beneficiaries to the physical therapy clinics so more fraudulent health care claims could be submitted. These defendants also allegedly paid licensed massage therapists—who also were arrested this morning—to act as “nominee owners” and operators of the physical therapy clinics. This allowed the leaders of the scheme to avoid various medical clinic licensing requirements and attempt to evade criminal prosecution.
The indictments charge each defendant with multiple counts of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and health care fraud. If convicted, each defendant faces up to 10 years in prison per count. A federal district judge will determine any sentence after considering U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
An indictment is a charging instrument containing allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
Juan Antonio Gonzalez, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and acting Special Agent in Charge Robert M. DeWitt, FBI, Miami Field Office, announced the charges.
FBI, Miami Field Office, investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael B. Homer and Will Rosenzweig are prosecuting it.
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