WASHINGTON – A co-owner and operator of three Miami discount pharmacies pleaded guilty today in connection with a $23 million health care fraud scheme, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida; Michael B. Steinbach, Acting Special Agent in Charge 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.
Jose Carlos Morales, 55, of Miami, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Joan A. Lenard in the Southern District of Florida to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and one count of conspiracy to pay illegal health care kickbacks.
According to court documents, Morales was the co-owner of Pharmovisa Inc., which operated two pharmacies in Miami, and PharmovisaMD Inc., which operated one pharmacy in Miami. Morales pleaded guilty to agreeing to pay illegal health care kickbacks to co-conspirators in return for a stream of beneficiary information to be used to submit claims to Medicare and Medicaid. The beneficiaries who were referred to Pharmovisa and PharmovisaMD (Morales pharmacies) in exchange for kickbacks payments resided at assisted living facilities (ALFs) located in Miami. Morales and his alleged co-conspirators also paid illegal health care kickbacks to physicians in exchange for prescription referrals, which the Morales pharmacies ultimately billed to Medicare.
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