Durable Medical Equipment/DME
Durable medical equipment or DME offenses often occur when an individual uses health care program benefits involving purchasing durable medical equipment for means other than what is permitted by law, such as filing for monetary benefits without actually purchasing the medical equipment that was paid for by the benefit program. In certain cases, fake names and information are used to obtain the medical equipment. Both federal and Florida law include heavy fines and severe criminal penalties, including potential mandatory and minimum sentences of up to 25 years and maximum potential sentences of up to LIFE. Mr. Petruzzi has represented numerous individuals charged with, or under investigation for, DME offenses by both federal and state authorities. His experience and knowledge serve as an invaluable asset to his clients.
Federal DME offenses are investigated and prosecuted by various agencies, including the FBI, IRS and the Department of Justice. Some common federal statutes criminalizing DME offenses include:
18 USC Sec. 1347 –
(a) Whoever knowingly and willfully executes, or attempts to execute, a scheme or artifice:
(1) To defraud any health care benefit program; or
(2) To obtain, by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, any of the money or property owned by, or under the custody or control of, any health care benefit program, in connection with the delivery of or payment for health care benefits, items, or services, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.
If the violation results in serious bodily injury (as defined in section 1365 of this title), such person shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both; and if the violation results in death, such person shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both.
(b) With respect to violations of this section, a person need not have actual knowledge of this section or specific intent to commit a violation of this section.
Florida DME offenses are investigated and prosecuted by various state and local law enforcement agencies. Some common Florida statutes criminalizing DME offenses include:
817.50 Fraudulently obtaining goods, services, etc., from a health care provider.
(1) Whoever shall, willfully and with intent to defraud, obtain or attempt to obtain goods, products, merchandise, or services from any health care provider in this state, as defined in s.641.19(14), commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s.775.083.
(2) If any person gives to any health care provider in this state a false or fictitious name or a false or fictitious address or assigns to any health care provider the proceeds of any health maintenance contract or insurance contract, then knowing that such contract is no longer in force, is invalid, or is void for any reason, such action shall be prima facie evidence of the intent of such person to defraud the health care provider. However, this subsection does not apply to investigative actions taken by law enforcement officers for law enforcement purposes in the course of their official duties.
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