Thirteen operators of small Miami-area assisted living facilities have been arrested for insurance fraud after a year-long investigation, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater has announced.

The case, Atwater said Friday, began when investigators uncovered an alleged fraud scheme in which an assisted living facility intentionally misrepresented its business activities to obtain a cheaper, residential insurance policy rather than the required commercial insurance policy. The insurance carrier discovered the alleged fraud after the operator submitted a claim for a broken pipe in 2014; the insurer reported it to state Department of Financial Services’ Bureau of Insurance Fraud.

The subsequent state investigation grew between June 2016 and May 2017 and identified a trend of misrepresentation taking place within the assisted living industry in Florida, Atwater said.

These 13 operators each were charged with one count of application fraud, a third-degree felony, and if convicted face up to five years in prison:

  • Odalys Amaro and Eduardo Rodriguez, Loving Hands ALF, Miami
  • Idalberto Brito, Brito’s Home Corp., Hialeah, FL
  • Leonel Burmudez, Bermudez Senior Care, Miami
  • Anna Kaplan, Flamingo Care LLC, North Miami Beach, FL
  • Teresita Leon, Teresita Home Care, Miami
  • Guillermo Jesus Mendez and Jorge Pulido, La Casita Nuestra Home II, Miami
  • Gilberto Peralta, Angel’s Home, Miami
  • Jose Perez, Living Well ALF #2, Cutler Bay, FL
  • Barbara Plaza, Cornell ALF, Miami
  • Aida Salguiro, Amor Y Esperanza Home Care, Hialeah, FL
  • Thelma Waite-Blake, B & B Home Care Service, Miami

All of the involved facilities are assisted living facilities licensed for six beds, according to Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration, except for Teresita Home Care, which is an adult family care home licensed for five beds.