Four Arrested in $4.7 Million Fla. Medicaid Scheme

October 5, 2004

Two co-owners of a South Florida treatment center for infectious diseases, along with a physician at the center and a nurse who served as its administrator, have been arrested for their reported roles in a costly Medicaid fraud scheme, Attorney General Charlie Crist announced.

The reported scheme involved billing for prescriptions for medications that were never dispensed and the creation of false medical records to conceal the doctor’s absence from patient treatment and office supervision.

Investigators from the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Units in Ft. Lauderdale and Miami arrested Lawrence and Debbie Boudreaux, co-owners of Specialty Medical Care Centers of South Florida and an affiliated pharmacy, Ambucare Infusion Inc. The investigators also arrested Gladys Washington, a registered nurse employed as the center’s director of quality assurance, for her part in facilitating improper Medicaid billings and medication orders. Police in Fairfield, Iowa, then arrested Dr. Robert David, who served as one of the facility’s doctors.

From 1999 to 2001, the Boudreauxes employed David as a physician at the center. According to the clinic’s Medicaid billing records, David was present to administer professional treatment to HIV and Hepatitis-C patients and to oversee staff procedures. In fact, the physician was in Iowa and other locations when patients received whatever treatment was provided.

David allegedly ordered a physician’s assistant to initial and mark hundreds of patient records with a rubber “Robert David, MD” stamp in his absence. These records contained high-cost medication orders for injections and infusions of Neupogen and WinRho that were never administered to the clinic’s patients. The pharmacy would then submit bills to Medicaid for drugs that were never actually dispensed, resulting in a total of $4.7 million in improper billings.

During the course of the investigation, the Attorney General’s Medicaid investigators seized more than $1.6 million in illegally purchased assets, including a 40-foot motor vessel, an ocean-view condominium, a Cadillac Escalade and funds in a money market account.

The investigation and arrests resulted from the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit’s continuing probe into fraudulent billing practices initiated by dispensers of high-cost injection pharmaceuticals.

All four arrested individuals have been charged with varying counts of racketeering and first-, second- or third-degree grand theft, and the Boudreauxes are also charged with money laundering. The Boudreauxes were booked into the Palm Beach County Jail on a $1 million bond, while Washington was in the Women’s Detention Center in Miami-Dade County on a $100,000 bond. David was being held in the Fairfield County (Iowa) Jail on a $1 million bond pending extradition to Florida.

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