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Press Release

South Florida Marketer Sentenced to Prison Term for Buying and Selling Over 2.6 Million Medicare Beneficiary Identification Numbers

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Florida
One of First Prosecutions under The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015

MIAMI – A Palm Beach County man was sentenced on Friday in federal court to 41 months in prison following his earlier guilty plea to buying and selling more than 2.6 million Medicare beneficiary identification numbers, along with other personal identifiers.

In one of the first prosecutions brought under The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), Charles William McElwee, 36, was sentenced to 41 months imprisonment following his guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to violate MACRA by buying and selling beneficiary identification numbers. 

Among other things, MACRA makes it illegal to buy, sell, or distribute without lawful authority Medicare or Medicaid beneficiary numbers. (Title 42, United States Code, Section 1320a-7b(b)(4)).

As part of his plea, McElwee admitted that he and his co-conspirators used “data mining” and “social engineering techniques” to collect Medicare beneficiary information, which McElwee then advertised and sold online. The trafficked information included beneficiary names, addresses, dates of birth, social security numbers, and Medicare beneficiary identification numbers. According to the indictment, some of the illicit transactions involved foreign actors, including sellers in the Philippines and buyers in Egypt. 

U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe for the Southern District of Florida; Special Agent in Charge Omar Pérez Aybar of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Miami Region; and Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey B. Veltri of the FBI, Miami Field Office, announced the sentence.

HHS-OIG Miami and FBI Miami investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jon Juenger prosecuted it. Assistant U.S. Attorney Daren Grove is handling asset forfeiture.

Medicare beneficiaries who believe they have been a victim of medical identity theft can file a complaint with the HHS-OIG hotline by calling 1-800-HHS-TIPS (800-447-8477) or with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at or on under case number 22-cr-60202.



Public Affairs Unit

U.S. Attorney’s Office

Southern District of Florida

Updated April 11, 2023

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