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Medicare Patients Arrested for Fraud

For this “perp walk,” you might need canes and walkers.

Federal agents arrested 10 people in Miami on Tuesday for conspiracy to defraud Medicare, including eight beneficiaries between the ages of 67 and 79. Most are from Miami, but one of those arrested -- Elsa Capo, 71 -- is accused of traveling from Tampa to sign papers falsely saying she received home health-care services.

The patients are accused of allowing their Medicare ID numbers to be used for fraudulent billing, according to a press release from the FBIand U.S. Attorney. Three of the elders reportedly received extra money for recruiting the others.

The two home-health agencies accused in the scam, Marcialed and Sacred Health, received a total of $1.25 billion in a two-year span, federal authorities said. They identified the ringleaders as Vicente Diaz, 39, and Daniel Ocampo, 35, both of Miami-Dade. The government will seek forfeiture of two properties and four Mercedes.

In other news, a Jacksonville Beach chiropractor was arrested Friday and charged with bilking commercial health insurers.  Steven Rhodes, owner of Ocean View Health, is accused of billing insurance companies by exaggerating fees or charging for treatments that were never performed, a state press release said.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.