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Miami Tax Law Blog

Florida pair accused of patient brokering and insurance fraud

Two Florida residents were taken into custody in March after a multi-agency investigation into a 2012 two-vehicle accident. The man and woman are accused of staging the accident in order to collect on the personal injury protection provisions of an auto insurance policy. The charges carry a maximum custodial sentence of 25 years. The investigation was conducted by personnel with the Florida Department of Financial Services, the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, the Broward County Sheriff's Office and the F.B.I.

The pair were occupants of a passenger vehicle that was struck by a U-Haul truck in Fort Lauderdale on Sept. 22, 2012. They are both said to have subsequently submitted insurance claims in connection with the accident. According to investigators, the U-Haul truck was rented and driven by individuals recruited by the pair in order to stage the accident. In addition to insurance fraud, the couple are facing charges of staging an accident and patient brokering.

Fraud scheme by former Florida bank president

A federal grand jury indicted a former Premier Community Bank of the Emerald Coast president in late October. On Mar. 13, the man pleaded guilty to federal money laundering, conspiracy to commit bank and mail fraud, fraudulently benefiting from a loan by a federally insured institution and making false statements to a federally insured institution. The court will sentence him on May 28 for these charges.

The scheme took place between January 2006 and January 2011, when he allegedly profited around $337,000 and cost Premier Community Bank hundreds of thousands of dollars through illegal loans, according to a U.S. Department of Justice media release. The release also stated that the scheme defrauded Premier Community Bank, Beach Community Bank and Bank of America. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's Office of Inspector General, the Internal Revenue Service and the United States Treasury Department's Office all participated in the investigation.

2 Florida men accused of wire fraud and money laundering

Up to 30 years in federal prison are possible for two men, ages 31 and 28, in Jacksonville, Florida. Their indictment from the U.S. Attorney's Office alleged that their wire fraud bilked investors of over $1 million dollars. Additionally, over $4 million were supposedly laundered by the pair.

Operating under the guise of a foreign currency exchange company, they sought funds from investors between March 2012 and July 2014, according to information collected by the FBI, Internal Revenue Service, Florida Office of Financial Regulation and the Jacksonville Beach Police Department. Only 20 percent of the money collected from investors was actually traded on foreign currency and subsequently lost.

Identity theft and fraud lead to guilty plea in Florida

On Sept. 11, 2014, a 39-year-old woman and her 32-year-old friend, both from Jacksonville, were taken into custody and charged with wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and access device fraud. Their case had been under investigation by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation.

In 2011, the 39-year-old was employed by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida where she had access to the personal information of the insurance company's subscribers. Prosecutors stated that she used that information to file fraudulent federal income tax returns.

State charges 14 for alleged health care fraud

According to a spokesperson with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the South District of Florida, 14 Miami-Dade residents have been charged and detained with various offenses relating to alleged health care fraud. The spokesperson stated the fraud resulted in $13.9 million in losses through fraudulently claimed payments.

Three of those charged reportedly ran 30 companies, which were medical staffing companies and medical clinics. Through the businesses, the three were reportedly able to obtain doctors' information, which they then allegedly used in order to submit fraudulent claims for services that were never performed.

What is mass marketing fraud?

In Florida, mass marketing fraud may refer to any type of activity that makes use of mass communication techniques as part of an attempt to defraud individuals. Often, the media employed is the same as is used for mass marketing of products and services. Use of mass mailings, telemarketing systems or the internet are often alleged in mass marketing fraud cases.

The common theme is the use of deception or false representations to cause an individual to transfer something of value, often money, to the person behind the fraud. Common types of mass marketing fraud include overpayment fraud, recovery schemes and advance fee fraud. Overpayment fraud targets individuals who have advertised an item for sale. The seller is contacted and purchase arranged, but the buyer pays with a counterfeit instrument made out for more than the purchase price; the seller is convinced to make up the difference. When it is later discovered that the instrument is counterfeit, the seller has lost the item and the money.

Nurse accused of using patient information to get credit cards

A Florida nurse is facing charges regarding credit card fraud and identity theft after a woman in Lee County spoke with authorities in January. The nurse allegedly opened credit card accounts using the names of eight of her patients.

Reports say that the Lee County Sheriff's Office started investigating the nurse in January after receiving a complaint from an 81-year-old woman. The elderly woman got a call from Firestone informing her that she was behind on paying for the new tires that had been installed on her car, but the woman and her husband did not patronize Firestone for this service or even have the company's tires on her vehicle. The woman suspects that she seems like an easy target because of her age, but she triple checks her affairs.

Taxpayer rights and limiting the IRS

Taxpayers in Florida may benefit from understanding more about taxpayers' rights and the federal tax laws limiting the powers of the IRS. The law affords taxpayers the right to appeal certain collection efforts that are made by IRS collection agents. In addition, taxpayers are permitted to appeal the agent's calculation of the tax amount owed to the IRS. The agency is only liable for providing taxpayers with interest payments when the arrival of the refund check is more than 45 days late.

Taxpayers are only required to pay the amount of tax owed. When taxpayers are unable to make a lump sum payment in full, they may request an installment plan of monthly payments. If the tax has been overpaid, the taxpayer may be entitled to receive a refund if the appropriate documentation is submitted in a timely manner. The deadline for receiving the refund is two years from the date that the tax was paid or three years from the original filing date, whichever is later.

Settlement reached in health care fraud accusation

Two doctors and a home health care company in Florida are at the center of a complaint filed in 2012. The complaint asserts the doctor's wives were paid a salary linked to the Medicare referrals the doctors provided the company. On Feb. 23, it was announced that a monetary settlement was reached in the case against the two doctors and their spouses.

The situation dates back to 2012 when the health care company's director filed a complaint saying that the company paid seven doctors in the area and their wives for referrals. The director alleged that he reviewed the company's payroll records and found the salaries correlated with the Medicare referrals their husbands made to the company. According to the complaint, the funds were an illegal kickback and were part of a fraudulent scheme to acquire patients and revenue.

Psychiatrist convicted by jury for lying about care

According to court records, a South Florida psychiatrist was convicted following a federal jury trial for allegedly lying about providing care to mental health patients at a Broward County psychiatric facility. The conviction came on Feb. 13 following one week of deliberations.

The psychiatrist was acquitted on the main charge of conspiracy to defraud Medicare and of committing wire fraud. Upon his conviction on his remaining charge, the judge ordered him to report to prison officials immediately. He will face up to five years in prison upon his sentencing.

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