Florida authorities have arrested 10 people for allegedly operating a medical billing fraud scheme in Fort Myers. A local television station reported that state investigators are still searching for four other people who may have been involved in the operation.

According to state officials, the defendants stole the identities of doctors and set up 15 fake clinics to send fraudulent medical billings to various companies in Southwest Florida. They are further accused of stealing insurance policy information from various Florida residents. Over the course of three years, the defendants reportedly billed for around $42.7 million in false medical tests and procedures and actually took in around $10 million in stolen payouts.

To set up the fake medical clinics, the defendants allegedly leased office space in various locations. However, authorities believe these offices were used as mail drops and nothing more. The defendants are all facing charges of money laundering, scheme to defraud and criminal use of identification. They are further charged with Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act violations. A press release issued by the Florida Department of Financial Services said that insurance fraud increases the cost of insurance for all Florida residents.

Defendants facing insurance fraud charges may wish to contact Orlando, Florida, white-collar crimes defense lawyers as quickly as they can. Targets of white-collar crime investigations often find out about the investigation before they are charged. In some cases, a lawyer may be able to help rectify the situation and prevent charges from being filed. If charges are filed, a lawyer could build a strong defense against the accusations and work to get the case dismissed. Another defense strategy could be to negotiate a plea bargain that reduces the penalties in exchange for a guilty plea.

Source: FOX 4 Now, “Fourteen arrested in major fraud bust in Fort Myers“, Feb. 7, 2019