Broward County Resident who Falsely Represented she was a Licensed Medical Professional Was Sentenced to 17 Years Imprisonment for Medicare Fraud
A Pembroke Pines resident who falsely represented that she was a Medical Doctor and owned and operated Vortex Medical Center & Management Services, Inc. (“Vortex”), located in Miami, Florida, was sentenced today to 17 years for defrauding Medicare. Her co-defendant was sentenced to 8 years imprisonment for his role in the scheme.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, FBI, Miami Field Office, and Derrick Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), made the announcement.
According to the indictment and statements made at the sentencing hearing, Alejandra Collazo, 43, of Pembroke Pines, Florida, and Ricardo Corria, 49, of Miami, Florida, defrauded the Medicare program through Vortex. At Vortex, Collazo used the stolen identities of physicians to forge prescriptions that prescribed home health services. Collazo and Corria later sold these forged prescriptions to patient recruiters for $100 each. Home health agencies located in Miami-Dade County then submitted these forged prescriptions to Medicare, which represented millions of dollars in false and fraudulent claims.
During the course of this conspiracy Collazo represented that she was a State of Florida Licensed Nurse Practitioner. In previous corporate filings Collazo had represented to the State of Florida that she was a Medical Doctor. Collazo has never been a licensed medical professional in the State of Florida or any other jurisdiction. Collazo has a number of criminal convictions and has been sentenced to state prison on multiple occasions. Corria was previously convicted of cocaine trafficking and served time in federal prison.
The court also ordered each of Collazo and Corria to pay restitution to the Medicare program in the amount of $8,459,664. On December 5, 2014, Collazo pled guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, as well as one count of aggravated identity theft. On the same date, Corria pled guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States and receive health care kickbacks, and one substantive count of receipt of health care kickbacks.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI and HHS-OIG. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin J. Larsen.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.