Pursuing those who take the money and run

Stories of healthcare fraud fugitives--captured and at large--have pervaded recent news.

After hiding by day and cleaning offices by night, Luis Marin was arrested for participating in an alleged $16.5 million fraud scheme, according to the Miami Herald. Marin reportedly posed as a physical therapist in a crime ring that claimed Medicare payment for home health services that were unnecessary or not provided.

Marin's co-conspirator, Daniel Ocampo, was sent to prison in September; but Marin had dodged authorities since August. 

But last week his number came up when a traffic signal camera snapped a photo of his license plate. Police records showed the plate belonged to a wanted person, and officers arrested Marin. He's now in a federal detention center awaiting trial on charges of healthcare fraud and money laundering. Omar Perez-Aybar, supervisory special agent in Miami for the Office of Inspector General, told the Herald that Marin's apprehension was "dumb luck but good police work."

But another Florida resident has been added to the federal government's list of 10 most wanted healthcare fraud fugitives, the Herald reported. Jorge Portillo allegedly cheated Medicare out of $2 million for medical equipment never provided. His business partner, Scarlet Regalado, was sent to prison in 2009; Portillo remains on the lam.     

Portillo was president of Westland Medical Equipment Corp. He signed a backdated medical supply contract and a backdated maintenance and repair agreement to make it look like Westland Medical was purchasing equipment, supplies and maintenance services from a wholesaler, according to the indictment. Portillo and his co-conspirator then filed Medicare claims falsely representing that healthcare benefits, items and services were necessary for and provided to beneficiaries, the Office of Inspector General noted. 

Finally, the owners and operators of two Georgia clinics are wanted on 24 federal charges of healthcare fraud, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Miguel Angel Hernandez and Maria del Pilar Moreira stand accused of filing millions in false Medicare and Medicaid claims for services never provided; the pair's whereabouts remain unknown.

For more:
- read the Miami Herald articles on Marin and Portillo
- see OIG's list of most wanted healthcare fraud fugitives
- here's The Atlanta Journal-Constitution article