A Miami-area man was charged in an indictment unsealed today for his alleged participation in a $63 million health care fraud scheme involving a now-defunct community mental health center located in Miami.
Acting U.S. Attorney Benjamin G. Greenberg of the Southern District of Florida, Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Shimon R. Richmond of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Miami Regional Office made the announcement.
Samuel Konell, 69, of Boca Raton, Florida, was charged in an indictment filed in the Southern District of Florida with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and receive health care kickbacks, one count of receiving health care kickbacks and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Konell was arrested this morning and appeared this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Patrick A. White of the Southern District of Florida.
The indictment alleges that from approximately January 2006 through June 2012, Konell accepted kickbacks in exchange for referring Medicare beneficiaries to Greater Miami Behavioral Healthcare Center, Inc. (Greater Miami) to serve as patients so that Greater Miami could bill Medicare for mental health treatment purportedly provided to those beneficiaries. The indictment further alleges that Konell knew that the beneficiaries he referred to Greater Miami did not need, qualify for nor receive such treatment. In addition, the indictment alleges that Konell and co-conspirators took steps to disguise the true nature of the bribes and kickbacks Greater Miami paid to Konell and other patient brokers.
According to the indictment and other court documents, Konell and his co-conspirators caused the submission of false and fraudulent claims to Medicare for mental health treatment purportedly provided by Greater Miami in an amount exceeding $63 million.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
This case was investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida. Fraud Section Trial Attorneys Elizabeth Young and Leslie Wright are prosecuting the case.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged nearly 2,300 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $7 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.