| Crime |

Hialeah-Based Medicare Scammer Will Do Time

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You know what's delightful? Knowing your tax money goes to slimy guys such as convicted Medicare crook Ramon Santos. Riptide certainly sleeps better at night knowing we helped finance his shiny new Ford Expedition. Sigh.

Last Friday, the 42-year-old faux-nurse from Hialeah was convicted for health-care fraud and obstruction of justice in federal court. He and a group of three others milked the system for more than $3.2 million between 2005 and 2006.

Santos worked out of a Kendall clinic called Mitto Health Center, on SW 147th Court, where he administered expensive injections for patients with HIV, he told the federal government. During the trial, lawyers revealed the shots were actually just vitamin B-6 and B-12.

Santos's attorney, Stewart G. Abrams, did not return calls seeking comment Tuesday.

Santos told authorities he worked as a landscaper, according to a trial transcript. During the bond hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Bernstein noted Santos had actually been involved in phony health care for a long time. "We took his social security number and put it into the department of labor," Bernstein says. "It shows he has had no wages at all since he has been in the United States for 12 years."

One of his co-conspirators has already gotten an 8.3-year prison term. Santos will be sentenced October 29 and faces up to ten years.

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