Courtroom Gavel

A massive federal crackdown on healthcare fraud in Florida last week snared 52 providers including home healthcare firms.

Federal charges filed in South Florida covered a wide range of schemes from money laundering to kickbacks that resulted in $308 million in fraudulent claims to insurers.

Among those charged was Miami doctor’s office manager Varona Docasal who was involved in a scheme to illegally refer Medicare beneficiaries to home healthcare agencies in exchange for kickbacks. The home healthcare firms then billed Medicare for the healthcare services provided to the recruited beneficiaries.

 “We will not relent in holding accountable those in South Florida who exploit health care programs and patient trust for personal gain, particularly during the COVID-19 global pandemic,” Juan Antonio Gonzalez, acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, said in a statement.

The Florida crackdown was part of a national effort to ferret out healthcare fraud that  resulted in the arrests of 138 people in 31 federal districts across the United States in recent weeks.

The Southern District of Florida is a national leader in healthcare fraud prosecutions. In the past year, federal prosecutors have filed healthcare fraud charges against nearly 200 people who billed $2.2 billion in illegal medical-related charges.