Ten South Florida residents and one Boston man have been charged in Fort Lauderdale federal court for their alleged role in a massive nationwide telemedicine scheme that bilked insurance companies out of millions of dollars for unnecessary prescription medication. They are accused of soliciting patients, prescribing them unneeded compound medications for purported injuries, and then billing their health insurance providers for the unnecessary services. It is unclear if any of the defendants have hired an attorney.
The 11 defendants facing conspiracy charges are:
- Mark L. Vollaro, 38, of Boynton Beach, FL
- Anthony J. Loveland, 43, of Boynton Beach, FL
- Luis Garcia, 30, of Boca Raton, FL
- Robert C. Clark, 54, of Boca Raton, FL
- Jason T. Faley, 39, of Deerfield Beach, FL
- Joseph A. Cavallo, 42, of Cooper City, FL
- James D. Engimann, 37, of Lake Worth, FL
- Benjamin C. Heath, 37, of Boca Raton, FL
- Antonio J. Gousgounis, 34, of Boca Raton, FL
- Christopher Margait, 43, of West Palm Beach, FL
- Margaret Chiasson, 32, of Boston, MA
Several of the defendants also face money laundering charges for how they handled the proceeds from the alleged scheme, sources indicate.
According to the Department of Justice press release, the defendants were involved in a nationwide telemedicine scheme that ran in Broward County from January 2014 to October 2016. The alleged scheme targeted private health insurance providers and Tricare, a federal health insurance program for active-duty military personnel, veterans, and their families.
The defendants used telemarketing call centers and mass marketing techniques to lie to and lure potential patients, prosecutors allege. Physicians also illegally provided the defendants with completed prescription pads to make it easier for them to prepare false prescriptions for their patients, according to court filings. The case against the 11 defendants is part of a broader health care and telemedicine fraud scheme that has resulted in charges against 345 individuals who are allegedly responsible for more than $6 billion in insurance fraud losses.
“This nationwide enforcement operation is historic in both its size and scope, alleging billions of dollars in healthcare fraud across the country,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt. “These cases hold accountable those medical professionals and others who have exploited health care benefit programs and patients for personal gain.”
South Florida has for decades been known as the nation’s healthcare fraud capital, so it’s unsurprising that a big chunk of the defendants charged in the Department of Justice’s recent crackdown was from the Sunshine State.
With the government casting such a wide net to capture fraudsters, it’s easy for innocent business owners in the healthcare space to get caught and face charges that carry harsh prison terms and stiff monetary fines. The government acts quickly to prosecute cases of Medicare or Medicaid fraud, which means you should also act fast by immediately seeking legal counsel.
South Florida Fraud Defense Attorney
Are you accused of committing health care fraud in South Florida? Contact Brian Silber, P.A. to set up a free initial consultation with one of South Florida’s most experienced fraud defense attorneys.