Sure, it's not as sexy as running coke in cigarette boats over the Florida Straits or bootlegging moonshine for northern gangsters on the lam. But damn if Medicare fraud isn't lucrative -- which is probably why it's shaping up as one of the defining crimes of modern Miami.
As Jay Weaver's great coverage at the Herald makes it clear, Miami is ground zero for all that is medical and shady these days.
On Monday, the feds busted up another massive ring -- a $21 million, five-state Medicare fraud run by two Miami men, the U.S. attorney's office tells Riptide. The two men, Michel de Jesus Huarte and Ramon Fonseca, allegedly set up 19 sham clinics in Florida, Louisiana, Georgia and North and South Carolina.
All the clinics were given totally non-shady names like "Fast Cure Company" and "Best Cure Company," and at least a couple of the storefronts in New Orleans were empty offices with hand-written signs. Way to keep up appearances, guys.
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Even if they weren't criminal geniuses, Huarte and Fonseca allegedly managed to clear $21 mil with their scheme. They laundered the cash through a check-cashing company here in Miami before pocketing that sweet, sweet taxpayer gold. Neither man has entered a plea yet.