Health care fraud is the hot ticket among Miami's white collar criminals these days, and prosecutors today say they've busted a ring that was recruiting school bus drivers to bilk the Miami-Dade Public School's insurance fund to the tune of at least $1 million.
The owner of a fake clinic who allegedly masterminded the scheme and the bus driver who prosecutors say recruited her colleagues both face multiple felony charges.
The clinic's owner, Yasiel Reyes-Gonzalez, routinely paid school employees $800 in cash to visit. Then Reyes-Gonzalez and his cohorts would use the patient's info to bill the schools' insurer for thousands of dollars in procedures they never performed, says State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.
His main accomplice in the school system was a bus driver named Cynthia DaSilva, Rundle says. DaSilva earned $100 bonuses for recruiting other bus drivers to the clinic and offered her recruits $50 for any referrals they sent her ways, she says.
Prosecutors showed reporters undercover video of DaSilva talking about the scheme to a detective posing as a potential new client.
In all, the scheme netted at least $1 million, and possibly as much as $3 million, Rundle says.
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"It's shameful and it's unacceptable," Miami Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said. "We'll spare no expense to prosecute those responsible.
Reyes-Gonzelez faces seven felony counts of patient brokering, and DaSilva is charged with three counts each of grand theft, patient brokering and insurance fraud. Maria Elena Mendez, another alleged accomplice, faces one count of patient brokering.