Mental-Health Fraud: Crime of the Week
It may seem as though it’s always health-care-fraud week in Miami, but this week’s a lollapalooza. And all the alleged crimes involved mental-health clinics.
As the Miami Herald reports, the FBI captured Kathryn Abbate, who used to run the Miami Beach Community Health Center until auditors found $6.8 million in taxpayers’ money had been siphoned off.
She faces both state and federal theft charges, but is said to be cooperating with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Five doctors could be involved, Justice Department attorneys said.
Maybe the strangest thing about the case: At the mental-health center, Abbate was being paid more than $1 million a year, the Herald reported. That wasn’t enough?
An even bigger theft than that came to a close this week with the guilty plea of Armando “Manny” Gonzalez, a former cocaine trafficker who switched to Medicare fraud, reportedly because it was much safer and easier.
The Miami Herald reported that Gonzalez was indicted with others on charges of conspiring to defraud Medicare of $63 million through his mental-health clinics, which operated as Health Care Solutions Network.
A registered nurse who worked with him, John Thoen, was sentenced to more than nine years in prison in the case, the Justice Department reports.