Articles Posted in Miami-Dade County

A Florida man was convicted Friday of running an 18-year, $1.3 billion health-care fraud that prosecutors called the largest scheme of its kind ever charged by the Justice Department.

The 50-year-old Miami Beach resident apparently used a network of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in South Florida to defraud U.S. government healthcare programs while providing inadequate and unnecessary care to patients, prosecutors said.

The man is apparently made off with at least $37 million for himself from 1998 to 2016, according to prosecutors, using the money to finance a lavish lifestyle of fancy cars and a $360,000 watch.

The man also used some of the proceeds from the fraud to bribe the University of Pennsylvania basketball coach to help get his son into the school, prosecutors allege. The coach pleaded guilty to money laundering last year in connection with the case.

Prosecutors said the man bribed doctors to admit patients to the facilities he operated. The patients didn’t get appropriate care and sometimes received unnecessary services for which the man then billed the U.S. government.

The man also bribed a Florida state regulator to learn about surprise inspections of company facilities ahead of time, prosecutors said.

The total value of fraudulent claims that the man’s companies submitted to Medicare and Medicaid exceeded $1.3 billion, according to prosecutors.

A jury found the man guilty on 20 counts in U.S. district court in the Southern District of Florida. Charges included conspiracy to defraud the United States, receiving kickbacks, money laundering and conspiracy to commit bribery. Two co-conspirators pleaded guilty. Sentencing hasn’t been scheduled.

Health care fraud is a very serious crime that the federal government and the state of Florida will pour countless resources into to uncover alleged fraud. Anyone from an individual doctor to a billing company to an entire hospital system can be the target of a lengthy investigation.

The government is aggressive when it comes to investigating these claims. You need an equally aggressive attorney fighting on your side to protect you from health care fraud charges. Our South Florida Medicare and Medicaid Fraud Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton understand how to defend these health care fraud charges and will work tirelessly to protect you from the government’s powerful grasp. We will provide you with an honest assessment of your situation and help you understand the possible defenses that may be available. We want to minimize any damage to you and your reputation.

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South Florida rapper Kodak Black was arrested Wednesday at the U.S. border in upstate New York on drug and weapons charges.

The rapper was with two other men in his vehicle trying to enter the country from Canada when they were detained. Four others were traveling in a separate car with Kodak.

During a search of the group’s Cadillac Escalade, which Kodak was driving, police found marijuana on the rapper and a gun inside the vehicle.

The Glock 9mm pistol had allegedly not been declared.

In the other vehicle, police claim they found two other weapons and more marijuana in the trunk.

Kodak Black was arrested for criminal possession of a weapon and unlawful possession of marijuana. Two others were also arrested on weapons charges.

The driver of the other car was also arrested.

Black was released on bond Thursday.

Due to strict and complicated gun laws, it is very easy to end up on the wrong side of the law. Fortunately, our

South Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are here to help. We can explain the charges you face and then help you resolve them as quickly as possible.

We understand Florida’s gun and weapon laws in detail, and we can help you build the strongest possible defense to whatever the charges you face. This includes gun charges as well as any other charges allegedly committed. If it is not possible to get the evidence against you thrown out, we will do whatever we can to negotiate a favorable resolution. We will fight aggressively to keep you out of jail whenever possible.

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A former Miami police officer has been sentenced to 15 ½ years in prison for her apparent involvement in a drug trafficking conspiracy.

Court records show that the woman was sentenced Wednesday in Miami federal court. She previously pleaded guilty to conspiring with other officers to possess cocaine.

Investigators say the woman provided police protection for what she believed were large shipments of cocaine on three occasions last September and October. She received a cash payment of $17,000. The deliveries were arranged by undercover FBI agents.

Cases are still pending against two other former Miami officers.

Drug trafficking charges can lead to serious consequences if convicted. Not only are you looking at a permanent criminal record, but you can also face serious prison time and hefty fines.

Our South Florida Drug Crimes Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have helped many clients accused of federal drug charges minimize or eliminate penalties. As former prosecutors, our team of trial lawyers understand what it takes to prepare an effective defense. We use our inside knowledge to anticipate the prosecution’s case and formulate aggressive defense strategies for drug trafficking conspiracy charges. We can also negotiate with prosecutors to reach deals or secure reduced penalties.

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On Friday, a federal jury convicted a Florida health care executive on 20 criminal counts in what prosecutors described as a $1 billion Medicare fraud scheme.

Jurors reached a partial verdict after four days of deliberating. This case is one of the biggest in U.S. history. Jurors were undecided on six additional counts, but prosecutors accepted the verdict rather than sending them back for further deliberations.

The Miami Beach businessman operated a network of nursing homes and assisted living facilities in South Florida.

Jurors found him guilty of paying kickbacks and bribes to doctors and administrators so they would refer patients to his businesses. A former Ivy League basketball coach testified that the man bribed him to get his son into school. He was also convicted of charges of obstruction of justice, for plotting to help one of his co-conspirators flee to another country.

The jury could not decide whether the man was guilty of Medicare fraud conspiracy. They found him guilty of money laundering and of bribing a Florida health regulator to warn him when inspectors planned surprise visits to his facilities and when patients made complaints.

The man plans to appeal the decision.

He has been jailed since his 2016 arrest. The charges he was convicted of add up to more than 250 years in prison, but he is likely to get far less than that under federal sentencing guidelines.

The federal government and the state of Florida are quite serious about prosecuting those accused of health care fraud. Police will use any means necessary to uncover any alleged fraud. Individual doctors and even entire hospitals can be the target of a health care fraud investigation.

The government is very aggressive in its approach to investigating health care fraud. Grand jury investigations are likely to occur. It doesn’t matter if you are under investigation or have already been indicted – you need to enlist the help of a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible who can defend you from these charges.

Our South Florida Medicare Fraud Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can defend you against health care fraud charges in Florida or elsewhere in the country. We will give you an honest assessment of your case and help you understand the possible defenses that may be available. We want to minimize any damage to you and your reputation.

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For the third time in less than three months a former University of Miami football player has been arrested.

According to police, former Canes star running back Mark Walton, who now plays for the Cincinnati Bengals, was observed in his vehicle driving very aggressively and illegally.

The 21-year-old now faces felony charges of carrying a concealed weapon, marijuana possession and reckless driving.

These charges are all from a high-speed car chase that took place last month in Miami-Dade County.

Walton has already been involved in two other criminal cases.

One is from February in which he’s accused of snatching a phone from a neighbor at his Brickell condo building during an argument in the parking garage.

Walton is also awaiting trial on a misdemeanor drug charge from an arrest in January.

Felony charges of any kind are serious. Felony crimes are prosecuted heavily in the state of Florida, regardless of the degree of the charge. You could be looking at mandatory minimum prison sentences, large fines, and other severe consequences. The prosecution will stop at nothing to seek the highest levels of punishment for those facing felony crimes, especially if they have a criminal past.

After an arrest for a crime, you need to take appropriate steps to protect yourself. The first thing you should do is call our South Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton. We can help you conduct a thorough investigation of the details surrounding your charges and make sure your rights are protected. It does not matter how severe the charges are that you are facing, we will fight aggressively to achieve the best possible outcome on your behalf.

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Former Miami Hurricanes football star Mark Walton was arrested recently after police said an argument with a woman turned physical at a Miami parking garage.

The 21-year-old who now plays for the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals faces a charge of battery.

A spokeswoman for the Miami Police Department said Walton and the woman began arguing around 4:30 p.m. because Walton was blocking the entrance to the parking garage in the unit block of Southeast Fifth Street.

The woman attempted to record Walton using her mobile phone, but Walton grabbed the phone, causing a brief struggle as the woman tried to get it back.

Walton and the woman had minor scratches, according to reports.

Walton was released on bond the next morning.

A person can be charged with battery if they make actual physical contact with another individual with the intent to injure, provoke, or insult that person. Simple battery is a first-degree misdemeanor with penalties of up to one year in jail or 12 months probation, and a $1,000 fine.If you or a loved one faces arrest or prosecution on charges of battery, it is important to contact our Miami Criminal Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton as soon as possible. We are zealous legal advocates that understand how the prosecution works and will attack their points to achieve the best possible resolution for our clients.

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The ex-husband of “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Cynthia Bailey spent the night in a Miami jail after being arrested for writing fraudulent checks.

Peter Thomas was arrested Friday at Miami International Airport on a fugitive warrant.

The 58-year-old man is from Louisiana where he is accused of writing fraudulent checks.

No bond has been set.

In an official statement, Thomas said the allegations were false. He said he will be “acquitted from any wrongdoing.”

In Florida, check fraud can embody numerous fraudulent activities, such as writing a check from an account holding insufficient funds or a closed account. It is also a crime for someone to possess fraudulently obtained checks. Check fraud carries the potential for a felony conviction and significant prison time, depending on the value of the check.

In order for the State to charge someone with check fraud, they must prove the “bad check” was intentionally tendered to another person or business. This can be in the form of a personal check or a business-related check.

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A South Florida man has been convicted in a $100 million scheme to defraud a Puerto Rico bank.

According to court records, the 55-year-old man was convicted in Miami federal court Monday of eight counts of wire fraud affecting a financial institution. His sentencing is scheduled for April 30.

Prosecutors believe the man served as chairman and CEO of a pharmaceutical company from 2005 to 2007 and caused Westernbank to grant a series of loans in exchange for a security interest in the company’s assets in 2005. According to reports, evidence showed Western Bank agreed to advance money based on fake customer invoices, which allowed the man to divert tens of millions of dollars.

Westernbank declared the loan in default in 2007 and lost more than $100 million, leading to the bank’s insolvency and collapse.

Wire fraud is a federal offense and if convicted, you face heavy fines and serious jail time. Since this man was found guilty of committing wire fraud against a financial institution, jail time can be up to 30 years. These are very serious charges, and you should not wait to seek help. In fact, the sooner you obtain legal representation the better.

A person can be found guilty of wire fraud if they knowingly and willfully devised a scheme to defraud, or obtain money or property under false pretenses, and knowingly transmitted or caused to be transmitted by wire in interstate commerce in some capacity for the purpose of executing the scheme to defraud. This crime is centered around “intent,” and you do not have to actually defraud someone to be convicted of wire fraud.

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A former Colombian anti-corruption official is facing prison time after pleading guilty to U.S. money-laundering conspiracy charges as part of a bribery scheme.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled Thursday in Miami federal court for the former director of the anti-corruption office for Colombia’s chief prosecutor.

The man faces up to 20 years in prison.

The Drug Enforcement Administration says in court documents that the man sought to obtain thousands of dollars in bribes from a former governor of Colombia’s Cordoba region who was under a separate corruption investigation.

Bribery is defined as the act of offering money in order to influence the actions of another. The crime of bribery usually arises in the case of public officials, where a private citizen may offer something of value as a means to influence how the public official carries out their public duties. Most bribery cases are charged as conspiracies. In a conspiracy, the government believes that two or more people agreed to engage in criminal conduct.  

With extremely harsh penalties on the line, anyone facing accusations of bribery needs a powerful federal criminal defense attorney on their side to protect their interests, their livelihood, and, most importantly, their freedom.

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A Miami man was arrested Tuesday, a year after he allegedly raped a 17-year-old girl who was seven months pregnant at the time, authorities said.

According to an arrest report, the teen was sitting alone at a bus stop on Sept. 29, 2017, when the 48-year-old man pulled up in his vehicle and asked her to get in.

Police said the teen didn’t know the man and refused, so the man parked his car and approached the teen on foot.

The teen apparently got into the man’s car, authorities said.

According to the arrest report, the man drove the teen to a secluded location, forced her to get in the back seat and then raped her.

DNA results from the teen’s rape kit apparently traced back to the man on Tuesday, police said.

The man was arrested on a charge of sexual battery on a minor. He is being held at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center.

Rape is one of the most serious criminal offenses a person can be charged with. The potential penalties are quite severe. If you have been accused of rape, or sexual assault, there is a good chance that some of the key evidence the State of Florida will introduce against you came from an examination, more commonly referred to as a “rape kit.”

A “rape kit” is also known as a Sexual Assault Evidence Collection kit. While it is a “kit” containing evidence collection tools, including swabs, combs, envelopes and bags, administering a rape kit is a procedure for documenting sexual assault allegations. The purpose of the examination is to gather physical evidence of the alleged assault. Evidence the exam may turn up includes:

  • Pubic hair, facial hair, other body hair
  • Semen
  • Saliva
  • Fibers
  • Blood
  • Skin cells

All of these types of evidence will be used by police and prosecutors to try and obtain a conviction. Hair, bodily fluids, and skin cells can all contain a person’s DNA. If your unique DNA is matched to the DNA found on a sexual assault victim, it almost always proves that there was some type of physical contact between you and the victim.

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