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White-collar crimes: Florida pharmacist admits to Medicare fraud

The owner of a pharmacy in Florida recently pleaded guilty in federal court in Miami to committing health care fraud. The 48-year-old resident of Miami Beach is one of 123 others in South Florida who were charged in a sweep that federal prosecutors carried out in June -- all accused of involvement in white-collar crimes relating to health care fraud. This man reportedly admitted to running a Medicare fraud scheme involving $8.4 million.

As part of the plea deal, the pharmacist agreed to forfeit the full value of the fraud. This means that the government will seize various assets, including the funds in four separate bank accounts in his name, along with three business bank accounts in the name of his pharmacy. Furthermore, the government will take ownership of a condominium bought for $450,000 in 2012.

Prosecutors say the defendant ran the fraud scheme through his pharmacy for seven years. Court documents also indicate that he bought the condo after his first year of running the scam. Prosecutors say the pharmacist paid Medicare patients kickbacks to have their prescriptions filled at his pharmacy, allowing him to submit fraudulent claims and receive reimbursement from Medicare.

Anyone in Florida who faces white-collar crimes will undoubtedly retain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as they become aware of an investigation. An attorney will assess the charges and evidence, and if it appears formidable, the focus may be on negotiating a favorable plea bargain. Substantial white-collar crimes convictions, particularly at the federal level, typically include sentences of incarceration. In some circumstances, a plea agreement that includes forfeiting assets or restitution might lead to a reduced sentence.

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