Bad deeds foreign and domestic
Being the third most populous state in the country with an estimated 21.3 million residents, Florida has an upsized share of fraudulent activity. This week’s fraud alert includes a South Florida company accused of a nationwide IT phone scam, the feds opening a task force to fight foreign corruption, and a lesson from a repenting workers’ compensation attorney turned fraudster.
The Florida Attorney General’s office has filed charges against American PC Corporation in Sunrise, calling it and its president Raju Sharma with running a big tech support scam by falsely claiming Microsoft affiliation. The filing accuses the company of suckering victims, many senior citizens, into paying up to $1,700 for tech support for their PCs to cure non-existent viruses and malware. APC is one of four companies being targeted by Attorney General Ashley Moody for PC fraud. She is seeking to have it banned from telemarketing and tech support activities in Florida along with paying penalties of $10,000-$15,000 for each senior citizen who was ripped-off.
It’s not uncommon for authorities to find that fraudsters have socked-away their ill-gotten gains in luxury South Florida real estate, boats, works of art, and other expensive items. Recently, federal authorities have discovered a series of high-profile money laundering cases tied to Miami real estate, so they’ve announced the creation of a new task force. Its target: individuals and companies violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, as well as those seeing to bribe foreign officials. Several top Venezuelan officials were recently accused of illegally taking money out of the country’s state oil company and using it to purchase South Florida real estate. The FBI task force office is opening in ground zero Miami with six dedicated agents.
And another reminder that although fraud in Florida can be bad, it’s often worse in California, the most populous state with nearly 40 million residents. A former workers’ comp attorney who was part of several organized crime schemes to run-up big medical bills for injured claimants by working with crooked doctors and hospitals is doing a mea culpa tour to raise awareness among insurance companies, prior to heading to federal prison. One bogus surgery scam bilked $500 million of insurance money over 15 years. If you work in health insurance, you are going to especially want to read this fascinating Claims Journal article. The story provides an insider’s look at insurance fraud and how it’s the “sign-up guys” who do the heavy lifting.
LMA Newsletter of 3-18-19