FBI agents and other investigators spent hours Wednesday apparently collecting evidence at a South Florida medical supply firm with links to "The Wolf of Wall Street" film amid accusations of Medicare fraud.
FBI spokesman Jim Marshall confirmed that the bureau was "conducting law enforcement activity" at the offices of Med-Care Diabetic and Medical Supply Inc. in Boca Raton. News media photos and video showed agents from the FBI and other agencies carting out boxes of files and other materials from the office.
Marshall would not discuss the nature of the case, but Med-Care is accused in a pending false-claims lawsuit of defrauding the federal Medicare program. The company has denied the allegations.
An attorney for Med-Care, Justin S. Weddle, said in a statement that the company "has always been fully transparent in cooperating with regulatory or governmental inquiries that it receives."
"This inquiry is no different. ... The process used today was unexpected, but the company is cooperating, and will continue to cooperate, fully. The company has nothing to hide."
Court documents show that among Med-Care's executives is Daniel Porush, a model for the character played by Jonah Hill in the 2013 "Wolf" film depicting Wall Street greed and corruption. It was based on a book by Jordan Belfort, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, who was a former business partner of Porush in various telemarketing and investment operations. Both real-life men did prison time for fraud.
The false claims lawsuit was filed by Tiffany Bumbury, a former employee of an affiliated company, East End Associates. The U.S. government joined the lawsuit because it alleges federal Medicare money was stolen.
The lawsuit claims that Med-Care Diabetic operates call centers in Boca Raton and New York as part of a conspiracy in which Medicare beneficiaries are contacted about receiving medical equipment that is unnecessary, not requested by the beneficiary or excessive in scope. Sometimes Medicare is billed for equipment that never goes to a beneficiary, the lawsuit contends.
Bumbury says in the lawsuit that she and other telemarketers were told they "did not need to always follow the script and should say whatever they needed to say, and make whatever representations they needed to make, to obtain billing information (including Medicare billing information) and to secure a sale."
Med-Care was paid more than $84 million by Medicare between 2009 and 2012 through this illicit scheme, the lawsuit claims.
A congressional committee has also examined the company's tactics. South Florida has long been the nation's leader in health care fraud.