Miami Beach Health Executive Pleads Guilty to $7 Million Theft By Tod Aronovitz | 02/14/13 | 0 Comment

Kathryn Abbate, the former head of the Miami Beach Community Health Center (“MBCHC”), was fired from her job in August of 2012 when auditors discovered the theft of up to $7 million in taxpayer money.

Yesterday she pled guilty to charges including falsification of up to 800 checks. The massive theft diverted millions of dollars that would have otherwise been used to provide affordable healthcare for the uninsured and underinsured in South Florida.

Abbate, who appears to be cooperating with authorities, faces up to 10 years in prison on theft charges. The scam took place between 2008 and 2012.

Miami Beach Community Health Center is a health care network offering board certified specialties including family medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, internal medicine, dental, geriatrics and behavioral health. MBCHC, which operates centers in South Beach, North Beach, and North Miami-Dade, also provides free HIV testing and ongoing HIV/AIDS medical care.

Funding for MBCHC comes in part from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, which provides almost $4 million in grants annually.

Medical Fraud and Whistleblowers

While Abbate’s fraud was discovered by auditors during a routine federal grant review, this type of an internal theft can also be disclosed by an internal whistleblower.

Healthcare professionals who are employed in a facility that is suspected of wasting or abusing federal funds (such as overcharging Medicare, or engaged in some type of Medicare fraud) can work with a whistleblower attorney to bring charges. The person with inside knowledge of inappropriate billings or expenses could be a bookkeeper, a financial executive, a doctor, or a nurse.

By acting as a whistleblower in what is known as a qui tam lawsuit, a private party may collect between 10 to 30 percent of the amount recovered, depending on how the case is prosecuted.

Whistleblower cases receive special confidential treatment from the courts during the early investigation period, until allegations can be verified. Charges typically become public only if and when the U.S. government finds sufficient cause and intervenes in the action.

ARONOVITZ LAW: Miami Whistleblower / Qui Tam Law Firm

The Miami, Florida whistleblower law firm of ARONOVITZ LAW routinely works with Florida whistleblowers to document fraud against the government. Click on the link to read more about our Miami Whistleblower / Qui Tam law firm services.

Contact Miami whistleblower attorney Tod Aronovitz for a confidential discussion of your potential Florida Medicare fraud case.