Miami Man Sentenced To Federal Prison For Wire Fraud And Conspiracy To Commit Wire Fraud
BATON ROUGE, LA - U.S. Attorney Brandon J. Fremin announced today that U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson sentenced Keaton L. Copeland, age 34, of Miami, Florida, to 120 months in federal prison following his conviction for wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The Court further sentenced Copeland to three years of supervised release following his term of imprisonment and ordered him to pay $98,987.67 in restitution.
After a 6-day trial before U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson, the jury unanimously convicted Mr. Copeland on all six counts. As the evidence at trial demonstrated, Copeland owned and controlled a health insurance brokerage company called Express ACA in Miami, Florida. Express ACA’s purported purpose was to assist individuals with enrolling in health insurance policies that met the requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Affordable Care Act”). From approximately January 2014 until May 2015, Express ACA employees submitted thousands of health insurance applications on behalf of individuals, many of whom did not need health insurance and had no knowledge that these applications had been submitted. Copeland instructed his employees to enter false information on these applications including false income amounts, fake addresses, and incorrect phone numbers. The vast majority of these health insurance policies were fully subsidized by the federal government.
In exchange for causing these fraudulent policies, Copeland expected to receive commission fees from insurance companies. Many of the insurance companies, including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, immediately discovered the fraud and prevented further attempts at Copeland’s continued efforts to defraud other insurance companies.
U.S. Attorney Fremin said, “This conviction and sentence once again demonstrates that those who take advantage of our healthcare systems to unjustly enrich themselves will be brought to justice. Creating false financial records for thousands of unknowing victims is in direct violation of our federal criminal law and such behavior should be punished accordingly. I want to congratulate our prosecutors, the FBI, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, Anthem, and Humana for their hard work investigating this complex criminal scheme.”
“The sentence imposed today is an affirmation of our commitment to protect the integrity of our nation’s health insurance programs from those who seek to illegally profit through their fraudulent actions,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Miranda Bennett of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) Dallas Regional Office. “This office will continue to work closely with our Federal and State law enforcement partners, as well as our private stakeholders, to bring to justice those who deliberately manipulate health insurance systems or the personally identifiable information of individuals, to fraudulently obtain money from government and privately funded health care programs to which they are not entitled.”
Bryan A. Vorndran, FBI New Orleans Field Office Special Agent in Charge stated, “I commend the efforts of the men and women of the FBI and want to thank our partners at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of the Inspector General, the United States Attorney's Office, as well as fraud investigators at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana for their outstanding work throughout this investigation and subsequent trial. This case should serve as yet another reminder to all that the FBI and our partners remain committed to investigating fraud in all facets of our health care system."
This matter is being handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Office of Inspector General, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with substantial assistance provided by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, Financial Investigations Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Brad Casey and Patricia Jones.