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Published on June 21, 2024
Hialeah Councilwoman Angelica Pacheco Charged with Healthcare Fraud, Maintains Innocence Amid AllegationsSource: Unsplash/ Tingey Injury Law Firm

Hialeah Councilwoman Angelica Pacheco has found herself in the grasp of federal law enforcement after the Federal Bureau of Investigation took her into custody on charges of healthcare fraud. Pacheco, who is 37 and a certified nurse, runs a primary care clinic and substance abuse rehab facility with her husband Daniel in Hialeah. Details linking the charges directly to her business have yet to be clearly outlined. After her arrest, which she seemed to presage in a social media post, Pacheco appeared in court for the first time on Thursday afternoon.

Despite the severity of the situation, it is currently unclear whether Pacheco's accusations are connected to her role as an elected official. Hialeah Mayor Esteban Bovo has emphatically stated that the "federal charges presented the councilwoman are not related nor linked to her capacity as an elected official." His concerns were echoed in a short reflection shared on social media, describing the day as unfortunate for Hialeah residents and the charges as unrelated to her city role, as mentioned in a post on X.

The charges specifically accuse the councilwoman of falsely billing private insurers millions of dollars for services at her treatment center, Florida Life Recovery and Rehabilitation, according to a grand jury indictment. Pacheco's camp released a lengthy statement vehemently denying the charges and suggesting political motives behind them, specifically accusing Mayor Esteban Bovo. "Although these accusations do not originate in the city of Hialeah, the councilwoman points out that the mayor is behind this due to her extensive network of contacts," the statement read, as reported by NBC Miami.

For her part, Pacheco seems to be bracing for what comes next, asking Governor Ron DeSantis not to suspend her from office, a measure he has previously taken with other officials facing charges. The full extent of Pacheco's legal battle remains to quickly unfold, with the erased details of her indictment resonating as a stark reminder of the complexities of public trust and the gritty intertwining of healthcare and politics. As per CBS News Miami, the business at the heart of the accusations, Florida Life Recovery and Rehabilitation, reportedly submitted over $19 million in bogus claims to insurance companies over a three year period.