Thursday, November 23, 2017
News Roundup

Tampa woman convicted in multimillion-dollar Medicare fraud scheme

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TAMPA — A federal jury has found a Tampa woman guilty of helping orchestrate a multimillion-dollar Medicare fraud scheme.

Pilar Garcia Lorenzo, 38, collected millions of dollars through the submission of false and fraudulent Medicare claims when she ran Gold Care Home Health Services on Busch Boulevard in Tampa. The company's stated purpose was to provide home health care services to Medicare beneficiaries.

In late summer 2014, federal officials said, the company submitted Medicare reimbursement claims for health care services that were not completed, not medically necessary or not prescribed by physicians. The claims that Medicare reimbursed totaled $2.5 million.

Garcia Lorenzo created several fictitious shell companies that were registered in Hialeah to conceal the money, federal officials said. About $2 million of the proceeds Gold Care received from Medicare was laundered in cash transactions through them.

In June 2015, an investigation by the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services produced an indictment against Garcia Lorenzo and Amaury Perez, accused of partnering with her in the scheme. The criminal charges were part of a nationwide sweep by a Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which brought charges against more than 200 defendants.

The jury convicted Garcia Lorenzo of money laundering and conspiracy charges on Thursday. Her sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 5.

Perez remains a fugitive.

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