Florida Woman Recruiting Homeless to Pose as Patients Sentenced to Years in Prison
released on October 20, 2017
found in newsletter: October 2017
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit today secured a prison sentence for an Orlando woman who exploited homeless men and women to commit Medicaid fraud. Christina Benson, owner of Tranquility Health Care Solutions, bilked Medicaid out of more than $200,000 by billing Medicaid for services not provided and not warranted. Last year, Benson pleaded guilty to one count of Medicaid provider fraud, a first-degree felony.
Benson’s scheme involved offering gas cards and temporary housing to homeless individuals in return for the homeless seeking services at Tranquility Health Care. Benson used untrained personnel, some with criminal arrest records, to operate this scheme using Medicaid IDs to bill Medicaid for psychosocial rehabilitation services that were never rendered.
The Honorable A. James Craner, Circuit Judge for the Ninth Judicial Circuit today sentenced Benson to four and half years in prison. Benson previously forfeited more than $170,000 to the state.
Attorney General Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigated the case. The State Attorney’s Office for the Ninth Judicial Circuit prosecuted the case.
The Florida Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigates allegations of patient abuse, neglect, and exploitation in facilities receiving payments under the Medicaid program. Additionally, the MFCU investigates and prosecutes providers that intentionally defraud the state’s Medicaid program through fraudulent billing practices. Medicaid fraud essentially steals from Florida’s taxpayers. From Jan. 2011 to the present, Attorney General Bondi’s MFCU has obtained more than $750 million in settlements and judgments. In 2017, the MFCU was awarded the Inspector General’s Award for Excellence in Fighting Fraud, Waste and Abuse. This award is presented annually to the nation’s top MFCU by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.
Original Press Release