A 28-year-old Miami Dade police officer is being brought up on charges for being part of a ring of students who stole more than a half a million dollars from the IRS by filing phony income tax returns. While a student at Miami-Dade College (MDC) in 2013, Ebony Nesbitt, was allegedly part of a group of students who used the names and Social Security numbers of over 600 taxpayers to receive thousands of dollars into their Higher One college bank accounts that were used for receiving financial aid and tuition-paying purposes.
A South Florida couple was arrested 200 miles from the Canadian border in Maine earlier this year, accused of a particular type of fraud that has affected many people in Miami and the South Florida area. While on vacation, the couple had enjoyed themselves by spending money on meals and shopping sprees to stores like Best Buy, Sears, and Walgreens. The only problem was that they were spending money that didn't belong to them. This South Florida couple was using stolen credit and debit cards that were cloned elsewhere in June 2016.
What happens when you're browsing on your computer and suddenly, a huge pop-up window appears and tells you that you have a major virus on your computer? Many people have had this happen to them at some point in the past. Sometimes, the best reaction when a pop-up appears is to simply turn off and reboot your computer. However, many have fallen prey to the doomsday warnings of the pop-up, and called a number listed for "tech support" in order to rid their computer of the virus. In the case of the 40,000 people who happened to contact a tech support company called Client Care Experts from 2013-2016, they may have been part of a $25 million fraud.
In a story we hear of all too often in South Florida, a Miami-area man was recently sentenced to 20 years in prison (240 months) for his role in a large Medicare fraud scheme. In addition, he is also required to pay $66.4 million in restitution for the fraud he committed against the Medicare system.
Usually when we think of identity theft, we think of stolen credit cards, social security numbers, and fake bank accounts. However, in this new age of social media, a stolen identity can also show up online in places like Twitter.
One Miami man won't be living in the luxurious homes he has been used to thanks to his part in a $20 million mortgage fraud that spanned from South Beach to Ft. Lauderdale. Now, he'll spend 15 years in prison and have five years of supervised release following his prison time. That comes out to roughly one year of federal corrections supervision for each million dollars of fraud.
Over the last few years, the Justice Department has charged over 400 people in what they consider the nation's largest healthcare fraud scheme as a result of an ongoing investigation affecting doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other professionals in the health industry field. Over 400 people have been indicted, spearheaded by the Medicare Fraud Strike force. Charges have been lodged in more than 41 Federal district courts, charging over 100 doctors, nurses, and other licensed medical professionals. The fraud has involved over $1.3 billion, implicating individuals who perpetrated false claims and received money from Tricare or various funds or entities related to Tricare.
In the aftermath of a devastating natural disaster, such as Hurricane Irma, we see different sides of our community, neighbors, and friends emerge once the storm has passed. Many people come out to support affected areas by collecting goods, offering free or discounted services, or donating money to disaster-relief charities. Others come out after the disaster looking for ways to fraud a system and take advantage of ways to make extra money from vulnerable victims or government recovery efforts.
Miami is an epicenter of fraud related to government-run healthcare programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. Each year, we see medical facility and pharmacy owners, doctors, and even hospital systems wrapped up in fraudulent billing or referral practices. Just this summer, there have been two major fraud-related crackdowns that have affected a wide network of assisted-living facilities here in Miami. These stories show the intricacies and details of how serious this issue is here in South Florida.
Health care fraud crackdowns initiated to catch those who defraud within the health care industry are common, but a couple of the most recent crackdowns have targeted one segment of the industry in particular that some may argue Florida desperately needs to be clean and honest. The drug and addiction treatment industry exists to support recovering drug and alcohol addicts who come to the facilities ideally to seek treatment and rid themselves of a dangerous addiction in order to live a healthier life. However, through evidence collected during one local and one national crackdown, a dark picture of the operation of these facilities has emerged.