Police Employees Charged in 911 Medical Fraud Ring

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Police Employees Charged in 911 Medical Fraud RingNEW YORK — For years, Angela Meyers, a 911 operator with the New York Police Department, fielded emergency calls, then filed reports about the calls within the department.But according to court documents, when someone called 911 after a car accident, Meyers did something else: She also passed victims’ information to an insurance fraud ring in Queens.Meyers was one of six current and former New York Police Department employees charged in federal court Thursday with conspiracy and bribery. They are accused of being part of a citywide medical insurance fraud ring that sent thousands of car accident victims to specific health clinics, doctors and lawyers in exchange for kickbacks.Law enforcement officials arrested 27 people in connection with the scheme — 23 of those were expected to appear in Manhattan federal court Thursday.A key component to the scheme were the five 911 operators and an active police officer, Yanaris Deleon, who provided victims’ confidential contact information to the scheme’s ringleaders, prosecutors said. Four of the five 911 operators were active employees; one had previously resigned, police said.”There is no place for corruption within the NYPD,” James P. O’Neill, the police commissioner, said in a statement. “By tarnishing the shield, as well as their sacred oaths, these employees will be held to the highest account the law provides.”According to court documents, the 911 operators and Deleon provided victims’ contact information to the scheme’s fraudulent “call center.”The call center would then contact those victims and coax them to visit prearranged medical clinics and lawyers, court documents say. Those call center offices would then pay the ringleader of the scheme, Anthony Rose, 51, in exchange for that information, according to authorities.Prosecutors said the department employees received thousands of dollars for their part in the scheme.”These actions have undermined the integrity of our emergency and medical first responders,” said Geoffrey S. Berman, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan. “This office is committed to rooting out corruption wherever it is found and will not rest until those who seek to profit by corrupting our public institutions are brought to justice.”The fraud ring employed a network of people within hospitals, medical service providers and law enforcement. Rose, who is from Queens, ran the scheme from at least 2014 to November 2019, prosecutors said.As recently as June, Deleon texted Rose on encrypted messaging app WhatsApp and provided a list of “nearly two dozen names and telephone numbers” of accident victims, court documents said.Prosecutors estimate that as many as 60,000 car accident victims may have had their confidential information improperly disclosed.Rose ordered his co-conspirators to target car accident victims from low-income neighborhoods because they were more vulnerable, according to court documents. He told his fraudulent call center not to target victims in Manhattan, court documents said, because “those people got attorneys.””We need all the ‘hood cases,” Rose told the call center people, according to the documents. “We want all the bad neighborhoods.”In addition to the Police Department sources, Rose also bribed employees at hospitals and medical centers to violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, known as HIPAA, and disclose confidential patient information for car accident victims, the documents say.The investigation is continuing, prosecutors said.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company