Gov’t indicts 20 in S. Fla. scheme

Sunday, February 8, 2004

February 9, 2004

MIAMI - The government has charged 20 people, including three doctors and employees of two DME companies, with conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud in a scheme that conned Medicare and other payors out of $5.5 million.

The defendents were charged with witness tampering, conspiracy to commit money laundering and the payment of kickbacks from 1997-2002.

The indictment alleges that Heldy Artiles and her husband, Orlando Artiles, conspired with physicians, a physician’s assistant, PTs and others to bill the payors for services, equipment, meds and therapy that was either not provided or medically unnecessary.

The scheme involved Exclusive Medical Supply, Hope Medical Supplies, Ideal Pharmacy and the Miami Health Medical Center.

According to the indictment, the conspirators paid kickbacks to people who would pose as patients of the medical companies. The conspirators staged automobile accidents and paid bribes to the supposed victims to get them to complain of injuries.

The indictment seeks the forfeiture of $1.6 million of currency, a 2003 Chevy Silverado and at least five Miami-Dade County real properties.