In the world of healthcare, the pursuit of well-being regularly collides with the need to generate profits. As a sad result, healthcare fraud frequently occurs in the United States. In spite of ongoing efforts to curb illicit practices, fraudsters continue to do their dirty work. However, there are stark consequences for those who exploit vulnerabilities in the system. They include harsh prison sentences.
Wisconsin man gets two and a half year prison sentence.
Disability benefits are typically funded by taxpayers or through insurance premiums paid by individuals and employers. A person who fraudulently claims and receives these benefits without a legitimate disability is misappropriating public funds. Needless to say, taking advantage of a system designed to support those in genuine need is not only immoral, but illegal. It could land you in federal prison for years.
53 year-old, Scott Carlberg recently found that out firsthand. As reported by the Northern District of Illinois branch of the U.S. Attorney's Office last Friday, the former railroad engineer will serve two and a half years in prison for fraudulently obtaining disability benefits.
Carlberg claimed to be unable to work due to disabilities.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office reports that Carlberg operated and managed a tanning salon in Wisconsin for six years. During that time, however, he was receiving occupational disability benefits from the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board. In his application for benefits, Carlberg claimed that he could no longer perform any type of work.
Among the reasons he cited for being unable to work were short-term-memory loss, poor concentration, irritability, frequent loss of temper and information-processing difficulties. “After the benefits were approved, Carlberg misrepresented the nature of his work at the salon and lied about the income he received from it,” the report details.
Earlier this year, Carlberg was convicted on four counts of wire fraud. In addition to the prison term, he must pay more than $279,000 in restitution to the Railroad Retirement Board.
Florida man pleads guilty to illegal HIV medication distribution.
A lengthy prison sentence also awaits Armando Herrera. This past Monday, the 43 year-old Miami resident pleaded guilty to illegally distributing at least $16.7 million of adulterated HIV drugs. They were dispensed to unsuspecting patients all throughout the country. As reported by the Office of Public Affairs, Herrera and his co-conspirators established companies in Florida, Texas, Washington and California. They were all used in the scheme.
Through the businesses, the group sold and distributed adulterated prescription drugs to wholesale pharmaceutical suppliers. The drugs were mainly HIV medications. “Herrera and his co-conspirators created false documentation to make it appear as though the drugs were acquired legitimately when, in fact, they were not,” reads the report, “The pharmaceutical suppliers then sold the drugs to pharmacies, which dispensed the adulterated prescription drugs to unwitting patients.”
Herrera was charged with one count of conspiracy to introduce adulterated and misbranded drugs into interstate commerce. Pleading guilty to this charge, he is now scheduled to be sentenced on December 21. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
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