Martha Lima and her son Luis are facing charges that they conspired to defraud Medicaid of more than $16 million using false filing claims and paying bribes to some patients. The case has caused quite the uproar throughout southern Florida considering Ms. Lima was recognized as the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ by the Latin Chamber of Commerce of the United States in 2013.
Ms. Lima is accused of masterminding the Medicaid scam using her home care company, Continuous Home Health Care Services between 2009 and 2014. It’s alleged that she submitted false claims for services that were either never provided or that weren’t required, paying recruiters, patients, and doctors kickbacks and bribes to gain some of the referrals she received.
According to the Miami Herald news article, Miami healthcare operator on Latin business chamber board faces fraud charges, written by Jay Weaver:
“Lima, who is a member of the CAMACOL board, faces trial along with her son, Luis. They are accused of defrauding Medicare by filing $16 million in false claims and paying bribes to patients, recruiters and doctors from 2009 to 2014.”
In South Florida in the past several years has become a hotbed of fraud and abuse due to previously lax oversight from Medicare and Medicaid Services. Since 2009, though, the federal government has put together a task force that has looked into some suspicious filings and has been charging owners, managers, and care providers for fraud and other crimes in recent years.
Ms. Lima is represented by Jose Quinion. Jay Weaver added later on in the news article:
“Martha Lima’s defense attorney, Jose Quinon, declined to comment. The attorney for her son, Luis, said a plea agreement is being pursued with the U.S. attorney’s office for both defendants and the goal would be to minimize any possible jail time.
“At this point in time, all the parties are working toward finding a solution to this case,” said attorney Luis Fernandez.”
In 20o5, Ms. Lima opened Continuous Home Health Care Services and founded a charity, Bridge of Love and Hope. From there, authorities claim her and her son conspired to conceal the programs payments and diverted fraudulent proceeds to be use for their own personal needs.
Authorities are seeking to recover $16.3 million in false claims, which is the total that was fraudulently acquired by the two. The mother and son own 10 Miami-Dade real estate properties in the area, most of them in Little Havana, and if they can’t pay restitution, the government may move to seize the assets. There was no word on potential jail time for either of the two.