TAMPA, Fla. - Federal prosecutors call it the biggest healthcare fraud case in history. They say five men have all pleaded guilty to nearly $175 million of fraud.
All of them are from Tampa Bay. This week, Larry Everett Smith, of Tampa, was the latest defendant to plead guilty.
Court records show the men submitted millions of dollars’ worth of bogus prescriptions to giant pharmacies including, CVS Caremark, Optum and others.
With the help from telemarketing companies, the scam involved tricking unsuspected patients into providing their personal medical and insurance information.
From there, the scheme got more elaborate explained Tampa defense attorney Anthony Rickman.
"When you look at this entire scheme, they’re using our healthcare industry to fraudulently get prescriptions, to give prescriptions to those who don't need them, to give to pharmacies that they own and control, to further their scheme in making millions and almost a billion dollars," explained Rickman.
In all, the defendants submitted $931,356,936 in bills to pharmaceutical companies.
Four Tampa men, Larry Smith, Scott Roix, Mihir Taneja and Maikel Bolos have pled guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. The fifth defendant, Arun Kapoor, pled guilty to misbranded drugs with an intent to defraud.
Some have agreed to pay millions of dollars in restitution, but all of them are looking at up to five years behind bars.
Sentencing is scheduled for October 25, 2021.
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