Two mental health counselors plead guilty in major Florida fraud scam
June 11, 2012
On January 17, 2012, Florida licensed mental health counselors Gala Myriam Onofre (aka Consuelo Onofre) and Debora de Jesus entered into plea agreements in the respective cases brought against them by the United States.
Onofre and de Jesus were among those arrested in September 2011 following the indictment of Biscayne Milieu Health Center, its owner and approximately 20 other defendants on charges of Conspiracy to Commit Health Care Fraud.
Onofre and de Jesus were psychotherapists employed by Biscayne Milieu, a Miami-area mental health center. The owners, executives and several employees as well as employees of associated agencies are alleged have engaged in actions to submit $50 million in fraudulent claims to the Medicare program, resulting in close to $11 million in reimbursements.
The overall scheme involved the recruiting of disabled Medicare beneficiaries from the Southeast to Biscayne Milieu with the promise of providing them housing and services. These beneficiaries, who did not qualify for the services which Biscayne personnel billed Medicare for, were housed in assisted living facilities and their Medicare numbers were used to create claims for services that were not medically necessary, were not eligible for Medicaid reimbursement, that were never provided. Both Onofre and de Jesus pleaded guilty to Count 1 of the indictment, Conspiracy to Commit Health Care Fraud.
The two will be sentenced in September 2012. Both Onofre and de Jesus face up to ten years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 or not more than twice the gross gain or twice the gross loss from the offense, as well as restitution (Onofre, more than $7 million; de Jesus, more than $5 million).
Source: Indictment, U.S.A. vs. Macli, et al, Case No. 11-20587, United States District Court, Southern District of Florida and Jay Weaver, “Medicare fraud case nets dozens of arrests,” Miami Herald, September 7, 2011and USA vs. de Jesus, et al, Case No. 11-20587-CR-SCOLA, United States District Court, Southern District of Florida.
IF YOU HAVE INFORMATION ABOUT A PSYCHIATRIST, PSYCHOLOGIST, MENTAL HEALTH FACILITY OR ITS EMPLOYEES COMMITTING FRAUD, YOU CAN REPORT IT TO CITIZENS COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS, WHO CAN ASSIST YOU IN FILING REPORTS, COMPLAINTS, ETC. PLEASE CONTACT STEVE WAGNER, PUBLIC ADVOCACY SECRETARY AT firstname.lastname@example.org
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