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Official pleads guilty to health care fraud

TAMPA — A Florida member of a shell company pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court for his role in a multi-million dollar health care fraud and money laundering scheme, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced.

Leonard Austin, 45, of Lake Worth pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to commit money laundering of health care fraud proceeds. His sentencing date has not been set.

Austin acknowledged in his plea deal that he and others submitted $12 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare through three Florida purported clinics, including Summit Health Specialists P.L. in Tampa, the government says in a news release.

Prosecutors say Austin admitted that he and his co-conspirators attempted to conceal the funds by transferring the money through bank accounts for the clinics and Austin's shell company, called BioScan.

Four other defendants were indicted in this case and are scheduled for a jury trial next year