Fraud convictions, drugs and alleged sexual battery resulted in seven South Florida medical, healthcare or wellness professionals getting emergency suspension or restriction orders from the Florida Department of Health.
▪ An Emergency Suspension Order has been issued for 68-year-old registered nurse Ilfrenise Charlemagne of Miami, but she has been removed from the labor force for two years, nine months. That’s the federal prison part of Charlemagne’s sentence for one count of wire fraud involving fraudulent Medicaid billing. The cash part of the sentence is $122,770 restitution.
According to her guilty plea, Charlemagne operated Hilcrest Residential assisted living facility in St. Petersburg for elderly and severely mentally ill adults from 2008 until its emergency shut down by the state in 2011. As part of the settlement agreement with the state in October 2011, Charlemagne gave up Hilcrest’s license to operate. She also agreed that neither she nor any entity she owned or was an officer/director or would hold or apply for any such license from the state for five years.
Before the month was out, Charlemagne changed Hilcrest Residential ALF Inc. to Pleasant Alternative, Inc. with Nancy Cagliuso as president and Matterson Jean-Phillippe as vice president. The 2013 annual report, however, listed Charlemagne as president. That violated her settlement agreement with the state.
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Also, to conceal her ownership of Pleasant Alternative, she used Cagliuso’s name for Pleasant Alernative’s applications for a state license and to be a Medicaid provider. She directed Medicaid payments be made to a Wells Fargo account she controlled.
Lies of omission to get licenses and access to Medicaid funds count as fraud.
▪ Licensed massage therapist David Egusquiza can’t provide massage services without a supervisor present while under an Emergency Restriction Order. Egusquiza faces sexual battery charges from accusations made by a March customer at Coral Gables’ Massage Envy, 256 Miracle Mile.
According to a state document called Findings of Fact, Egusquiza massaged the woman’s thighs with “Your hamstrings are tight” then put a finger in her vagina and said, “This is tight, too.” After the woman said, “No,” Egusquiza kissed her on the forehead, apologized and resumed the massage. He later, the document says, asked the woman to keep what happened a secret.
Instead, she told Massage Envy and the Coral Gables Police Department. Egusquiza, 34, posted $7,500 bond and pleaded not guilty.
▪ Following a 2014 arrest for drug possession, Deerfield Beach paramedic Shawn Lundstedt saw her license suspended while she went through a treatment program for her drug use problems. Lundstedt got her license back in December 2015 while under a five-year monitoring agreement, but two relapses later, was under evaluation by an addiction medicine specialist.
Dr. Lawrence Wilson diagnosed Lundstedt as depressed along with being dependent on alcohol and stimulants. Wilson’s recommendations included stepping back from being a paramedic for a year to address her problem. When Lundstedt didn’t comply with Wilson’s recommendations, the monitoring agreement was terminated. An ERO was issued.
▪ An ESO came down on Sunrise’s Fernando Noboa, a 35-year-old registered pharmacy technician, after he pleaded no contest to possession of hash in St. Lucie County. His justice system probation runs out Nov. 30, 2021.
▪ Hialeah’s Clara Serguera, 44, voluntarily gave up her massage therapist license while the state slapped an ESO on her as a certified nursing assistant. Serguera got three years’ probation, until Dec. 13, 2019, after pleading guilty to one count of false and fraudulent insurance claims and one count of an organized scheme to defraud.
▪ The story of South Miami-Dade pharmacist William T. Walker, 65, is one of give and take.
Walker took a plea deal and gave a no contest plea to two counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. For that, the prosecution dropped the racketeering and drug trafficking conspiracy charges and the court gave Walker three years’ probation. The Department of Health hit Walker with an ESO, taking the pharmacist license Walker’s held for 25 years.
▪ An ESO was issued for registered pharmacy technician Adrianna Williams, but not because her license contained false information.
The home address the state had for Williams, who got her license in 2014, is 26069 S. Dixie Hwy. in Homestead. That’s the middle of the Coral Point strip mall. Since at least April 2013, that’s also been the state-registered address for Sanuces Self Defense Inc., which claimed to provide after school care and karate instruction. The registered agent for the aforementioned Sanuces Self Defense was Edward Tucker.
According to the state Findings of Fact, while Williams worked for SMP Pharmacy Solutions, she created a prescription to herself from Dr. Mauricio Herrera for 60 Tramadol tablets. She transferred it to a Walmart Neighborhood Market Pharmacy in Homestead, then deleted it from the SMP system. Walmart filled the prescription on Dec. 5.
Dr. Herrera denied writing that prescription as well as a Tramadol-Acetaminophen prescription Williams created for herself and transferred to Walmart on Dec. 13. Walmart filled that one, too.
But somebody at the big box’s pharmacy thought a Dec. 29 transferred prescription for 30 tablets of 200 mg Tramadol was worth a check-on-this call to SMP. The Findings of Fact identify the patient on this prescription as “Patient E.T.” -- the same initials as Edward Tucker -- and say “Patient E.T.” is Williams boyfriend. SMP couldn’t find that prescription for “E.T.,” only a Williams-created deleted prescription.
The Findings of Fact says Williams admitted the prescription shell game.