Mental health counselor guilty in $63 million fraud scheme
December 17, 2013
A former licensed mental health counselor at the defunct health provider Health Care Solutions Network Inc. (HCSN) pleaded guilty today in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for his role in a $63 million health care fraud scheme.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Steinbach of the FBI’s Miami Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Christopher B. Dennis of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Office of Investigations Miami Office made the announcement.
Ruben Busquets, 50, of Miami, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William J. Zloch in the Southern District of Florida to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison when he is sentenced on Feb. 20, 2014.
According to court records, Busquets was employed as a licensed therapist at HCSN, a mental health facility that purported to provide Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) services. A PHP is a form of intensive treatment for severe mental illness. HCSN of Florida (HCSN-FL) operated community mental health centers at two locations. Court records indicate that Busquets was aware that HCSN-FL personnel were routinely fabricating patient medical records. Many of these medical records were created weeks or months after the patients were admitted to HCSN-FL for purported PHP treatment and were utilized to support false and fraudulent billing to government sponsored health care benefit programs, including Medicare and Florida Medicaid. During his employment at HCSN-FL, Busquets and his co-conspirators signed fabricated PHP therapy notes and other medical records used to support false claims to government-sponsored health care programs.
According to court documents, from 2004 through 2011, HCSN billed Medicare and the Florida Medicaid program approximately $63 million for purported mental health services.
This case is being investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida. This case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Allan J. Medina of the Fraud Section.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged more than 1,700 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $5.5 billion. In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, is taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
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