ORLANDO, Fla. – More than 600 medical professionals across the United States now face charges in connection with the “largest (ever) health care fraud crackdown,” the U.S. attorney’s office said Thursday.
Of the 601 doctors, 21 are from Florida. Seven hail from the Orlando area.
Some of the doctors were charged with prescribing and distributing opioids and other narcotics. In many cases, investigators said, patient beneficiaries were paid cash kickbacks for supplying information to medical providers.
Those claims were then submitted to organizations such as Medicaid and Medicare for services that were never provided.
Collectively, the doctors, nurses, licensed medical professionals, health care company owners and others charged are accused of submitting more than $2 billion in fraudulent billings.
This was the largest fraud enforcement action taken in the history of the Department of Justice, according to a news release.
Orlando professionals charged --
Erving Rodriguez: charged with one count of conspiracy to solicit and receive health care kickbacks. The charge stems from Rodriguez’s role as the owner of ER Pro Corp., a marketing company that purportedly provided marketing services to pharmacies.
Homer Zulaica: charged with conspiracy to offer and pay health care kickbacks stemming from his role as a sales representative for QMedRx, a compounding pharmacy.
Dr. Christopher Devine: indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud and two counts of health care fraud for his role in prescribing medically unnecessary compounded creams for TRICARE beneficiaries.
Omar Zoobi, a pharmacist and co-owner of Metro Pharmacy and Metro Rx Pharmacy LLC, and Gregory Sikorski, a physician’s assistant: are included in a 10-count indictment charging each with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, four counts of health care fraud, and one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and pay and receive health care kickbacks.
Ashraf Badr, a pharmacist and co-owner of Metro Pharmacy and Metro Rx Pharmacy LLC: charged with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud stemming from his role in a scheme whereby Badr and a co-conspirator paid a physician’s assistant kickbacks in return for prescribing medically unnecessary compounded creams that were billed to Medicare.
Andres Arteaga Perez: charged with one count of theft of government property and one count of aggravated identity theft.