Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (File)

Florida Gov. DeSantis Suspends Hialeah Councilwoman Amid Federal Fraud Indictment

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (File)
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (File)

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed Executive Order 24-135 (Executive Order of Suspension), suspending Angelica Pacheco Tuesday from her position as City Councilwoman of the City of Hialeah.

On June 18, 2024, Angelica Pacheco was indicted by a grand jury in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida for one count of Conspiracy to Commit Health Care Fraud and Wire Fraud, a felony under 18 U.S.C. § 1349; five counts of Health Care Fraud, a felony under 18 U.S.C. § 1347; and two counts of Wire Fraud, a felony under 18 U.S.C. § 1343.

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The charges against Pacheco, a 37-year-old certified nurse, allege that she and her co-conspirators engaged in a complex web of fraudulent activities, including submitting false insurance claims, paying kickbacks and bribes, and allowing patients to “piggyback” on others’ insurance coverage.

The indictment paints a disturbing picture of a healthcare system allegedly manipulated for personal gain, with Pacheco at the center of the conspiracy.

According to the federal indictment, Angelica Pacheco, along with her husband Daniel, operated a primary care clinic and substance abuse rehabilitation facility in Hialeah, Florida. The pair are accused of conspiring to defraud private insurance companies from July 2017 to August 2020, using a variety of illicit tactics to “unlawfully enrich” themselves.

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The indictment alleges that Pacheco and her co-conspirators entered into agreements with laboratory owners and other affiliated substance abuse treatment centers, engaging in a practice known as “recycling” patients. This involved repeatedly referring the same patients back and forth between the different treatment centers, regardless of whether such treatment was medically necessary.

Furthermore, the indictment claims that Pacheco allowed medications to be prescribed in “quantities and combinations that at times grossly diverged from legitimate medical practice,” with the intention of offering patients a “substitute for a narcotic or alcohol-induced high.”

The federal case against her also involves alleged false business loan applications related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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