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All About the Healthcare Fraud Case That Exploited Physical Therapy Meant for Patients

A Miami woman has been sentenced to federal prison and ordered to pay $8.6 million as a result of her involvement in a large-scale healthcare fraud scheme.
Cover Image Source: Health Fraud | Photo by RichLegg | Getty Images
Cover Image Source: Health Fraud | Photo by RichLegg | Getty Images

Apart from sectors such as banking and investments where a large amount of money changes hands, sectors such as healthcare, which are crucial for public welfare, are also plagued by fraudulent schemes in this day and age. The culprit behind one such scam in the healthcare space has been identified as Arisleidys Fernandez Delmas, who is the mastermind behind a fraudulent operation worth nearly $37 million in the US. Following her guilty plea, a judge has sentenced the Miami resident to 104 months in federal prison and ordered her to pay restitution totaling $8,671,377 for her involvement in a conspiracy targeting Blue Cross Blue Shield. This scheme involved falsely billing for physical therapy services never rendered to patients.

Image Source: Guy Cali/Getty Images
Image Source: Photo by Guy Cali | Getty Images

Fernandez Delmas, 33, was among 15 individuals charged in connection with the fraud, many of whom were relatives. Apart from her prison term and financial penalties, she will also serve three years of supervised release.

From August 2018 to February 2023, the co-conspirators within this fraud scheme engaged in several illicit activities. They paid kickbacks to individuals covered by health insurance plans managed by BCBS, enticing beneficiaries from companies like JetBlue Airways, AT&T Inc., and TJX Companies Inc. to pose as patients at 30 physical therapy clinics in South Florida. These clinics, owned by the co-conspirators, submitted deceptive health insurance claims to BCBS, falsely seeking health care benefits that were neither medically necessary nor provided.

To add to this, the co-conspirators paid kickbacks and bribes to their co-defendants in exchange for referring more BCBS beneficiaries to the physical therapy clinics, thereby enabling further submission of fraudulent health care claims. They also engaged licensed massage therapists, some of whom were convicted defendants, to act as "nominee owners" and operators of the physical therapy clinics. This strategy was designed to circumvent medical clinic licensing requirements and evade potential criminal prosecution.

Image Source: Kisanapong/Getty Images
Image Source: Photo by Kisanapong | Getty Images

Several other individuals involved in the scheme have also been convicted. Co-conspirators include Pedro Hugo Prieto Garcia, Leidys Delmas Garcia, Julio Acosta Perez, Yohana Iriza (aka Yohana Lozada), Gabriel Lozada, Emiliano Joaquin Garcia, Anthony Lozada, Daimara Borroto Garcia, Elias Caises Maurino, and Linda Taylor.


In a similar incident that took place in Miami, a nurse practitioner was sentenced for her involvement in a $192 million Medicare fraud scheme. The practitioner, whose name remains undisclosed, was found guilty of falsely certifying patients as qualified to receive home health care services that were either not medically necessary or were never provided. 

Just like Fernandez Delmas' scheme, which targeted Blue Cross Blue Shield for physical therapy services patients never received, this Medicare fraud case highlights the nature of healthcare scams, involving multiple individuals collaborating in order to maximize profits through illegal means. In both instances, co-conspirators played crucial roles in facilitating the fraud by providing kickbacks, falsifying documentation, and evading detection by regulatory authorities.

When it comes to emergencies no one thinks twice in spending heaps of money but have to be careful while spending as scammers are keeping an eye to steal|Pexels|Photo by RDNE Stock project
Image Source: Pexels | Photo by RDNE Stock project

Healthcare fraud not only compromises the care that patients need along with their safety but also leads to significant financial losses for insurers, government healthcare programs, and taxpayers. It undermines trust in the healthcare system and can have far-reaching consequences.