South Florida doctor among ‘8 worst insurance criminals’ of 2016

Eight 2016 inductees into a group’s Insurance Fraud Hall of Shame Wednesday included a South Florida doctor sentenced for prescribing expensive anti-psychotic drugs even when patients did not need them.

Fernando Mendez-Villamil of Miami, 49, was sentenced in July to 12 years in prison and ordered to repay $50 million for charges related to prescriptions that defrauded payers including federal agencies. He apologized to the court: ““I know what I did was wrong, was dishonest.”

money cuffsOther inductees from around the nation included an arsonist who botched a scheme to get insurance money for a fire and killed two neighbors, according to the list compiled by the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, a Washington, D.C.-based organization supported by insurance companies and others.

Also inducted: The perpetrator of what was said to be the nation’s largest-ever no-fault whiplash crash scheme, and a caregiver who starved a cerebral palsy victim to death while stealing Medicaid money.

Health-related scams are the fastest growing category of insurance fraud, said James Quiggle, the group’s communications director.

“Insurance fraud is financing the opioid epidemic,” he said.

Overall, insurance fraud costs at least $80 billion a year, which the public pays through higher premiums and taxes, he said.

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