News


Five Arrested for Racketeering, Medicaid Fraud

 
For Immediate Release
July 20, 2010

Contact: Sandi Copes
Phone: 850.245.0150
Sandi.Copes@myfloridalegal.com


FIVE ARRESTED FOR CRIMINAL RACKETEERING, MEDICAID FRAUD
~Former hospital administrator and medical staff arrested; more arrests pending ~


TALLAHASSEE, FL - Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) today announced the arrest of five individuals on various felony charges including racketeering, Medicaid fraud, money laundering, aggravated white collar crime, and operating a scheme to defraud. The arrests are the culmination of a joint investigation between the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, FDLE and the State Attorney’s Office for the Third Judicial Circuit into activities at the now closed Trinity Community Hospital and its affiliated clinics in Hamilton, Suwanee and Columbia counties. More arrests are pending.

“This investigation exposed a pattern of corruption that has siphoned hundreds of thousands of dollars away from Florida taxpayers, and today that scheme will end,” said Attorney General McCollum. “Stopping Medicaid fraud, whether it is perpetuated by hospitals, doctors, or anyone else, will continue to be one of our primary focuses.”

“We are not going to tolerate this sleazy activity in Florida medical facilities,” said FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey. “These crimes take resources from our citizens who need medical assistance and FDLE has no tolerance for such victimization.”

Investigators with the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and FDLE arrested officers and employees of HC Healthcare, Inc. including owner Robert A. Krasnow, 36, of Gainesville; Dr. Yong Am Park, 66, of Lake City; Robert T. Krasnow, 58, of Gainesville, the father of Robert A. Krasnow; hospital administrator Christina L. Ortega, 42, of Lake City; and licensed practical nurse Ashley Lane Butler, 37, of Live Oak.

According to the criminal charges, officers, employees and affiliates of HC Healthcare, Inc. engaged in a scheme of admitting Medicaid recipients to the hospital without medical necessity. Investigators determined that in some instances, medical records were altered to justify those hospital admissions. False claims for reimbursement were also submitted to the Florida Medicaid program for services performed outside the scope of Park’s limited physician license.

The investigation also established that over $660,000 in state grant funds dedicated to hospital improvements were received by the corporation, but little if any of these funds were used to make such improvements. Instead, the bulk of these funds were used to support the activities of the criminal enterprise and diverted to the personal use of hospital owner Robert A. Krasnow. Money gained through these fraudulent activities were laundered through various bank accounts controlled by Robert A. Krasnow. Investigators determined that more than $130,000 in Medicaid funds was fraudulently disbursed.

Robert A. Krasnow is charged with one count of racketeering, one count of scheme to defraud, one count of money laundering, one count of aggravated white collar crime, and one count of grand theft, all first-degree felonies, and 10 counts of Medicaid fraud, a third-degree felony. If convicted on all charges, he faces a maximum sentence of 200 years and $100,000 in fines. Park is charged with one count of racketeering, a first-degree felony, and 10 counts of Medicaid provider fraud, a third-degree felony; if convicted on all charges, he could face a maximum of 80 years in prison and $60,000 in fines. Robert T. Krasnow is charged with one count of racketeering, a first-degree felony, and nine counts of Medicaid provider fraud, a third-degree felony; if convicted on all charges, he faces a maximum of 75 years in prison and $55,000 in fines. Ortega is charged with one count of racketeering, a first-degree felony, and three counts of Medicaid provider fraud, a third-degree felony; if convicted of all charges, she will face up to 45 years in prison and $25,000 in fines. Butler is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit racketeering, a first-degree felony, and if convicted could face up to 30 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

The case will be prosecuted by the State Attorney’s Office for the Third Judicial Circuit and specially designated attorneys from the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. The Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Internal Revenue Service, the Sheriffs of Hamilton, Columbia and Alachua counties, the Ocala Police Department and the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office in Illinois provided substantial assistance during the course of the investigation.

Florida Statutes provides that persons who report Medicaid fraud may be entitled to a reward for their information. Tips can be reported by contacting the Attorney General’s Fraud Hotline at 1-866-966-7226. Rewards will only be paid after a case has resulted in a fine, penalty or forfeiture of property. The amount of the reward may be up to 25 percent of the amount recovered or a maximum of $500,000 per case. The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit has a process to protect the identities of confidential informants.