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Doctor accused of committing fraud in Florida

One psychiatrist in Florida was recently indicted for fraud. The doctor is said to have run a racket that ended up defrauding many public programs. The victims of the alleged fraud included the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Medicaid, Medicare and the Social Security Administration.

The 48-year-old psychiatrist, along with three other individuals who worked in his office, faces charges of being involved in a complex scheme to provide fake diagnoses of incapacitating psychiatric conditions. These alleged actions enabled many people to qualify for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration, Medicaid and Medicare in a fraudulent way. Also, some of these individuals were exempted from having to meet testing requirements to become naturalized citizens in the United States.

The doctor and a couple of the other defendants then reportedly filed fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid claims for medical services and prescriptions. Authorities said these claims were not necessary but were filed in order to create fake records that would support the doctor's fraudulent diagnoses. If he is convicted, the doctor and the other defendants must forfeit all property they accumulated through the alleged fraud; this property would go to the federal government.

When a person is accused of fraud in Florida, he or she may go straight to trial to contest the charges filed against him or her. As his or her case moves forward through the state's criminal justice system, the individual -- alongside defense counsel -- might have the chance to negotiate a plea deal in exchange for lesser charges and/or a lighter sentence. The choice of whether to accept a plea deal rests completely with the defendant.

Source: Miami Herald, "Miami psychiatrist indicted for alleged fraud of numerous public programs", Daniel Chang, Jan. 8, 2016

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