COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
The owner of a company that briefly managed a hospital in Fulton amid financial struggles has been indicted in what prosecutors say was a scheme to use struggling rural hospitals for insurance fraud.
Jorge Perez of Miami and his brother, Ricardo Perez, are among the 10 defendants indicted last month on a list of charges related to an alleged billing scheme to rip off insurance companies.
Jorge Perez owns EmpowerHMS, which briefly ran the Fulton Medical Center in 2017 under a contract with NueHealth. NueHealth continues to own the hospital.
According to the indictment unsealed this week in the federal Middle District of Florida, Perez and others submitted claims to insurance companies for laboratory results. The company claimed the tests took place in its hospitals but they were actually done at independent labs "on behalf of patients with no connection to the hospitals," according to the indictment.
The scheme allegedly took place between 2015 and 2017.
Some of the activity was directed through Putnam County Memorial Hospital in Unionville, Missouri. The Fulton hospital was not mentioned in the indictment.
Perez was arrested Monday and posted a $250,000 bond.