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Florida Man Accused of Using Coronavirus Aid for Medicare Fraud

July 10, 2020, 8:45 PM

A Florida man faces charges that he fraudulently sought small business loans made available through federal coronavirus funding as part of a $5.6 million Medicare scheme, the Justice Department said Friday.

Carlos Belone, 37, of Coconut Creek, Fla., was arrested Friday on charges of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit health-care fraud, payment of health-care kickbacks, and making false statements to a financial institution, according to federal court documents.

Belone’s R&S Pharmacy submitted fake Medicare claims for orthotic braces on behalf of patients who neither wanted nor needed them, according to the criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

The claims totaled more than $5 million between May 2018 and December 2019, the DOJ alleged. Another company owned by Belone, R&S DME Services LLC, submitted similar fraudulent claims totaling more than $680,000 between July 2019 and January 2020, the complaint said.

Medicare paid more than $2.5 million for the claims, the DOJ alleged.

Belone continued the alleged scheme in April 2020, with money he obtained through the Paycheck Protection Program, which authorized small business loans under the federal CARES Act, the agency said.

Using fake tax documents, Belone secured more than $22,000 in loans. He transferred at least $12,000 into a personal bank account and used at least $3,000 to pay a company known to provide doctors’ orders in exchange for kickbacks, according to the complaint.

Several doctors who prescribed the medical equipment involved in Belone’s Medicare claims told investigators they worked with him in exchange for kickbacks. One doctor said Belone paid him between $150 and $325 for each prescription, depending on the kind of brace noted in the order, the complaint said.

Belone will be represented by a federal public defender, according to the court docket. A bond hearing is scheduled for July 13.

The case is USA v. Belone, S.D. Fla., No. 0:20-mj-06264, bond hearing scheduled 7/13/20.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jennifer Kay in Miami at jkay@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Fawn Johnson at fjohnson@bloomberglaw.com; Alexis Kramer at akramer@bloomberglaw.com

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