Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa pharmacist among 107 accused in nationwide Medicare fraud crackdown

MIAMI — A Tampa pharmacist is among 107 doctors, nurses and social workers in seven cities accused Wednesday of Medicare fraud in a crackdown on unrelated scams that allegedly billed the taxpayer-funded program $452 million — the highest dollar amount in a single Medicare bust in U.S. history.

It was the latest in a string of major arrests in the past two years as authorities have targeted fraud that's thought to cost the government $60 billion to $90 billion each year.

Stopping Medicare's budget from hemorrhaging that money will be key to paying for President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Attorney General Eric Holder partnered in 2009 to increase enforcement by allocating more money and staff and creating strike forces in fraud hot spots.

On Wednesday, hundreds of federal agents fanned out around the country, raiding businesses, seizing documents and charging 107 suspects in Tampa, Miami, Los Angeles, Houston, Detroit, Chicago and Baton Rouge, La. The government suspended payment to 52 providers as part of the investigations.

In Tampa, authorities indicted Emmanuel I. Mekowulu on a charge of dispensing and distributing controlled substances — primarily oxycodone — "not for a legitimate medical purpose."

A grand jury said he had received $121,350 from the crime, which is punishable by up to a year in prison.

The indictment and state records show Mekowulu is associated with Tampa Pharmacy Services and Felky RX, both at 14510 N Florida Ave.

Tampa pharmacist among 107 accused in nationwide Medicare fraud crackdown 05/02/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 2, 2012 11:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Sheriff's office identifies woman shot by Hernando deputies after brandishing shotgun

    Crime

    BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County Sheriff's Office has identified the woman who was shot by deputies who say she was suicidal when she pointed a shotgun at them on Sunday.

  2. Mike Evans supports Michael Bennett's protest

    Sports

    Bucs receiver Mike Evans was signing autographs for children after Bucs practice on Saturday. As he signed, he talked about Seattle defensive and former Buc Michael Bennett, who last Friday sat during the national anthem and who says he will continue to do so to fight racial injustice.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) comes down with a catch during practice at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times 

  3. Bucs position battles; Defining the receiver competition

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The Bucs' top four receivers are etched in granite with Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Adam Humphries and rookie Chris Godwin.

    Bucs wide receiver Josh Huff makes a juggling catch as cornerback Robert McClain closes in Tuesday at One Buc Place. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  4. Pinellas aims to close reading gap between boys and girls

    K12

    Principal Kristy Cantu pored over Sutherland Elementary's test scores last year, looking for trends.

    Pinellas County teachers are being asked this year to pay closer attention to how their lessons might better engage boys. The district has come up with a "gender equity self-reflection" rubric for teachers to follow, with the goal of improving boys' performance in English language arts. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]
  5. Photo of the Day for August 21, 2017 - Trapped Under a Rainbow

    Human Interest

    'Trapped Under a Rainbow,' today's Photo of the Day, comes from Patti Presnell of Valrico, FL.