Three Arrested for $2.4 million in Medicare & Medicaid Fraud
TALLAHASSEE, FL – Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General today announced the arrest of two individuals in Miami and one individual in Colombia for more than $2.4 million in Medicare and Medicaid fraud. The defendants allegedly defrauded Medicaid and Medicare by paying and receiving kickbacks in return for providing false and fraudulent home health prescriptions and plans of care to patient recruiters. “This was a brazen attempt to get away with stealing millions of taxpayer dollars, but thanks to my Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and strong partnerships with federal authorities, these individuals have been arrested and charged,” said Attorney General Pam Bondi. “Health care providers should generate business by offering their patients superior care. Financial relationships that put profits over patients undermine the quality and care given to patients and ultimately, the integrity of our public health care program upon which millions of Floridians depend,” said U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer. Last month, a federal grand jury in Miami returned a four-count indictment charging Dr. Daniel Ronchetta, 77, Chiropractic Physician Assistant John Crowe, 76, and patient recruiter Frank Barrios, 48, for Medicare and Medicaid fraud. The defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, substantive counts of health care fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States and pay and receive health care kickbacks. The Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General conducted this investigation. This case, brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Hagerenesh Simmons. Since their inception in March 2007, Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in nine locations have charged more than 1,650 defendants who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $4.5 billion. In addition, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.