Florida Health Care Admin Charged In $1B Medicare Fraud Case

MIAMI (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a Florida health care administrator accepted bribes in exchange for helping a nursing home owner charged in a $1 billion Medicare fraud case keep his license.

The Miami Herald reports that 66-year-old Bertha Blanco faces federal criminal charges in a case that federal authorities are calling the nation’s biggest Medicare fraud.

Prosecutors say Blanco made $31,281 a year overseeing inspections at nursing facilities owned by 48-year-old Philip Esformes. Esformes is accused of extensive Medicare fraud at his Miami-Dade nursing facilities.

Blanco is charged with taking tens of thousands of dollars in cash bribes in exchange for tipping Esformes off about violations so he could address them before state inspections.

Prosecutors say Blanco’s aid allowed Esformes to keep his license, and continue billing Medicare for questionable patient services.