With This Ring, I Thee Commit Fraud

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Weddings can be expensive. There’s the dress to consider, the rental fee for the most beautiful facility available and don’t forget the cost for the reception. (Thousands of dollars later, elopement doesn’t sounds like a bad idea.) Perhaps the subject of today’s ”Fraud of the Day” story, as detailed in a Department of Justice press release, wishes he had not committed health care fraud in order to purchase his beloved a $60,000 engagement ring. (We don’t know for sure, but maybe the desire to impress his fiancé drove the fraudster to bilk Medicare.)

The press release alleges that for nearly four years, a managing member of a shell company and four alleged co-conspirators submitted fraudulent claims worth more than $12 million to Medicare through three health clinics located in Florida. The claims included kickbacks paid for radiology, audiology, neurology and cardiology services that were never provided. Some of the Medicare beneficiaries listed on the claim forms had actually died prior to the date of service. (Unfortunately, Medicare shelled out more than $2.5 million for the fraudulent claims.)

The 44-year-old man pleaded guilty to two charges related to money laundering of health care fraud proceeds. He agreed to forfeit a $60,000 platinum and diamond engagement ring bought with the health care fraud proceeds. He is scheduled to be sentenced at a later date. One other co-conspirator has already pleaded guilty, while the three remaining defendants will be tried by jury in the near future.

In this case, congratulations do not go to a happy couple, but to the Medicare Strike Force. This task force has been hugely successful in tracking down and charging nearly 2,000 defendants who have collectively billed Medicare for more than $6 billion since 2007. It looks like this relationship between a variety of law enforcement agencies has staying power and will soon be celebrating its eighth anniversary. Best wishes to those fraudsters who try to elude getting caught. It looks like this team will be tracking down and prosecuting those who attempt to take away Medicare benefits from those who deserve them for many years to come.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on a press release titled, ”Bioscan Principal Pleads Guilty in Multi-Million Dollar Health Care Fraud and Money Laundering Scheme,” released by the Department of Justice on October 14, 2014.

A Florida managing member of a shell company pleaded guilty today in federal court in Tampa, Florida, for his role in a multi-million dollar health care fraud and money laundering scheme.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley III of the Middle District of Florida, Acting Special Agent in Charge Derrick Jackson of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Miami Regional Office and Special Agent in Charge Paul Wysopal of the FBI’s Tampa Field Office made the announcement.

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.