South Florida is among the most lucrative areas in the nation for those
seeking to profit from
health care fraud, identity theft and other types of crime that are more likely to be committed
in localities with a robust senior population. Of course, this means that
law enforcement organizations are more likely to target South Florida
in crackdowns on these types of offenses. Michael Steinbach, special agent
in charge with the FBI Miami Division recently sat down with the Sun Sentinel
and detailed some recent data pertaining to health care fraud and other
growing law enforcement concerns in the Miami area.
Dozens of FBI health care fraud cases led to convictions in Miami last year
The Miami Division is the fifth largest FBI division in the nation. It
employs around 800 workers who investigate crimes between Fort Pierce
and Key West.
Last year, cases built by the Miami Division of the FBI led to 157 convictions
for health care fraud. According to comments agent Steinbach made to the
Sun Sentinel, Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties are "victim
rich environments" because the area has "the demographics the
fraudsters like: an aged population and a lot of people on Medicare."
The FBI is not the only organization that is taking steps to crack down
on health care fraud in the Miami area. The Senior Medicare Patrol program
is an organized effort that recruits members of the public to reach potential
victims and others who may be in positions to recognize and report health
care fraud. Throughout Florida, there are 138 Senior Medicare Patrol volunteers,
including a dozen in Miami-Dade County alone. In 2013, the volunteers
reached 62,816 individuals, leading to 788 calls to their reporting hotline
that could be traced directly to a Senior Medicare Patrol presentation.
While health care fraud is particularly prevalent in South Florida, there
are many other types of crime that are also receiving heightened attention
from law enforcement authorities. For instance, the Miami Division of
the FBI reported 73 arrests last year for identity theft or
tax return fraud. The office was also credited with responsibility for 40 securities fraud
convictions in 2013. In a recent example of a large scale bust in an emerging
area of criminal activity, 22 individuals were charged in Miami-Dade County
in early February in connection to an
insurance fraud investigation.
Charged with healthcare fraud or another offense? Get a Miami defense lawyer involved
Crimes like health care fraud,
identity theft and insurance fraud typically do not involve a ski mask or a gun. But,
do not assume this means they are taken less seriously by police and prosecutors
in South Florida. On the contrary, the growing popularity of these types
of crimes has translated into a string of crackdowns and harsh sentences.
If you have been accused of committing health care fraud or another offense,
it is imperative to take proactive steps to ensure you stage a strong
legal defense. You should get in touch with an attorney experienced in
defending your type of case as early in the process as possible. Contact
a Miami criminal defense attorney today to protect your rights and to
begin building your case.