Federal Officials Arrest 2 Suspected Identity Thieves

MIAMI – U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta announced on Sept. 8 an eight-count grand jury indictment against two Florida residents accused of healthcare fraud.

Isis Machado, 22, and Fernando Ferrer Jr., 29, are accused of illegally appropriating patients’ financial information in order to submit $2.8 million in phony claims to Medicaid.

Machado was a former receptionist at Cleveland Clinic’s office in Weston where she had computer access to the personal data of more than 1,100 patients. Authorities believe she sold the information to Ferrer, her cousin and owner of Advanced Medical Claims of Naples, who used it to cheat insurance companies out of millions of dollars.

The two cousins have been charged with conspiracy to commit computer fraud, conspiracy to commit identity theft, conspiracy to wrongfully disclose patients’ healthcare information and aggravated identity theft.

If convicted, they each face up to 30 years in jail and thousands of dollars in fines.

It is not often that federal agents manage to uncover how identity thieves acquire personal information because the suppliers of this information can be almost anyone associated with the healthcare system – including nurses, clerks, janitors and ambulance attendants. As such, the case is only the third instance in which persons have been charged criminally for violating federal healthcare privacy laws.

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