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Published on May 17, 2024
South Florida Businessmen Plead Guilty to Multi-Million Dollar Diabetic Test Strip Fraud Scheme Source: Unsplash/ Sasun Bughdaryan

Two more South Florida businessmen are facing the music after pleading guilty to their roles in a sleazy scheme peddling misbranded diabetic test strips for millions, the feds have said. In a plot that raked in an estimated $12 million through fraudulently acquired test strips, Howard Neil Frank and Perfecto Fermin Hallon copped to conspiracy to commit health care fraud charges, per a statement released by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida.

Frank, 60, of Marco Island, didn't just run any old wholesale business; his were the hubs—Wholesale Diabetic Supplies Inc and HMF Distributing Inc—where these shady deals to eventually sell to retail pharmacies were orchestrated. Hallon, 77, from Miramar, a former president of Medical Care Supplies Inc, also played a key role. Their con involved snapping up non-retail or international test strips not meant to be sold in the U.S. and manipulating them to appear legitimate. To make it all look above-board, these crooks forged documents, faked codes, and ensured the altered products were difficult to trace back to their questionable origins. The pharmacies that sold these diabetic test strips weren't in the clear either; they submitted claims for reimbursement as if these were the real deal.

Justice is closing in though, as Hallon's sentencing is scheduled for May 29 in West Palm Beach, where he could be locked away for up to ten years, as disclosed in the statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office. Frank won't have his day in court until August 2, but he's staring down the barrel of a decade himself. Overall, these swindles have brought in four indictments, suggesting a wider web of deceit and corruption.

Previous convictions have seen Jason Grama plead guilty to similar health care fraud charges, getting off with three years supervised release and a nearly $300,000 restitution bill. Now with Frank and Hallon adding to the tally, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations, Miami Field Office, the prosecutors, and all the law's hounds involved in flushing out these fraudulent acts, demonstrate an unyielding stand against health care fraud. More unpleasant news may be waiting for Mohamed Mokbel, who is up for trial in October, facing his own set of fraud charges.

The Southern District of Florida's website and PACER system reveal more dirt on this case, providing documents and information for those keen to see how deep this rabbit hole goes. The crackdown continues, with health care fraud high on the agenda for the U.S. Attorney's office and its partners in justice.

Miami-Crime & Emergencies