Florida mother sentenced to 10 years in COPD scam

Monday, May 26, 2003

May 27, 2003

MIAMI - A 39 year-old South Florida mother has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for her role in a COPD scam that involved doctors, pharmacists and pharmacy owners, according to a May 22 report in the Miami Herald.

The woman, Idania C. Arias, ran an HME company that persuaded doctors to sign hundreds of blank prescriptions and recruited others to pay Medicare beneficiaries $50 to be falsely diagnosed with COPD.

The company then billed Medicare for nebulizers in a scam that eventually reaped $7 million. In addition to Arias, her husband and 26 South Florida residents have been convicted in what the Herald calls one of the largest Medicare fraud prosecutions in the region.

The paper notes that 20% of the $25 billion in Medicare scams carried out each year originates in South Florida.