Miami-Dade County, Fla. Couple Arrested for $69,000 Medicaid Fraud

June 28, 2006

Two Miami-Dade County residents have been arrested for attempting to defraud the Florida Medicaid program out of more than $69,000, according to Attorney General Charlie Crist. Hortensiz I. Escoto and Ricardo Isidro Escoto have been charged with organized fraud, money laundering and grand theft scam. The couple ran a sophisticated operation and laundered the money through a series of illegal activities in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.

Law enforcement officers with Crist’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit arrested the couple after conducting a 14-month investigation. An arrest warrant has also been issued for another couple involved in the fraud scheme.

The investigation revealed that Hortensia Escoto, 48, and Nieves Delgado, 33, jointly owned Belle Glade Family Health Group Inc. They billed the Medicaid program for more than $69,000 for ultrasounds allegedly administered to minors, but never actually performed. Richard Escoto, 50, and William Alvarez, 36, then laundered the Medicaid money through the use of phony corporations, fake driver’s licenses and fraudulent documents.

Alvarez is Delgado’s husband.

The Escotos are being held at the Miami-Dade County jail awaiting extradition to Palm Beach County. Each is charged with organized fraud, money laundering and grand theft. If convicted, each faces up to 60 years in prison and a $30,000 fine. Delgado and Alvarez are currently out of the country, but a warrant has been issued for their arrest. The case will be prosecuted by the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office.

Source: Florida Attorney General’s Office

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