TALLAHASSEE – LAWFUEL – Press Release Service – Attorney General Charlie Crist today announced that his Medicaid Fraud Control Unit has launched a new initiative that focuses on health care fraud in South Florida, specifically, fraud related to durable medical equipment. As a result of the new initiative, four South Florida residents were arrested today for their participation in four separate scams that collectively defrauded the Florida Medicaid program out of more than $800,000.
The four targeted the Medicaid program by billing for durable medical equipment that was neither needed nor received by Medicaid recipients.
Durable medical equipment is characterized as equipment that can withstand repeated use, is primarily and customarily used to serve a medical purpose, and is appropriate for use in the patient’s home.
Medicaid Fraud investigators arrested: Esteban Garcia, 42, of Miramar, owner of Vital Medical Equipment, Corp.; Roman Arias, 46, of Miami, owner of Expo Tech Services, Inc.; Javier Laso, 38, of Miami, owner of S & M Medical Supply, Inc., and Alexei Garcia, 35, of Miami, owner of Dade Care Medical Equipment, Inc.
“Health care fraud can have a significant cost measured both in dollars and public health,” said Crist. “We launched this investigation to protect patients and public resources from criminals and we are seeing quick results.”
This first round of arrests centered primarily around Medicaid recipients whose Medicaid accounts were billed for orthotic devices – items such as braces or other mechanical devices used to support weak or ineffective muscles or joints as a result of disease or injury. The majority of the Medicaid recipients interviewed had no disease or injury and no use for such devices, and the physicians who supposedly prescribed the equipment denied any involvement. In many instances, the recipients were not patients of the physician who allegedly prescribed the equipment.
The investigation found that the majority of the money paid by Medicaid went directly to each owner of the suspected companies.
Esteban Garcia is charged with defrauding Medicaid out of more than $418, 000, Arias is charged with defrauding Medicaid out of more than $225,000, and Laso is charged with defrauding Medicaid out of more than $185,000. Each man is charged with one count of organized scheme to defraud and one count of grand theft, both first-degree felonies. If convicted, each faces up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Alexei Garcia is charged with defrauding Medicaid out of more than $24,000. He is charged with one count of organized scheme to defraud and one count of grand theft, both second-degree felonies. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. All four men will be prosecuted by Crist’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit in conjunction with the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office. The cases were referred to the Attorney General by the Agency for Health Care Administration.
Copies of the arrest affidavits for each man are available at the links below:
Esteban Garcia –
Roman Arias –
Javier Laso –
Alexi Garcia –