MELBOURNE, Fla. – A man who managed pediatric extended care facilities for special needs children across Central Florida is accused of stealing thousands of dollars from the program.
Deputies said 53-year-old Carlos Cabrera, who acted as an administrator at Angels on Earth PPEC, was arrested Wednesday and is facing charges for Medicaid provider fraud in connection with submitting false claims and overbilling patients.
The organization, with locations in Orlando, Melbourne, Haines City and Lakeland, provides pediatric day care, skilled nurses specializing in physical, speech and occupation therapies and medical transport for special needs children.
A lawsuit filed by the state in the 9th Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office also alleges Cabrera stole more than $400,000 and filed over 1,000 adjusted, voided and new claims from July 1, 2021, to Dec. 31, 2021.
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“This defendant used vulnerable children and their families for his own financial gain by overbilling and stealing from a taxpayer-funded program,” Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said in a statement. “My Medicaid Fraud Control Unit uncovered this devious scheme and will now ensure this defendant faces justice.”
Moody said daily census reports from Angels on Earth show services were not rendered for up to 34% of the claims submitted for reimbursement and Cabrera billed a nearly 100% attendance rate to get the maximum payment, despite knowing that not every patient attended every day.
In the lawsuit, Cabrera said he submitted claims for about 220 Medicaid recipients per day at all the care facility’s locations.
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The lawsuit also shows that multiple parents received bribes from Cabrera labeled as “marketing” on cash apps to keep their children enrolled in the facility, a transgression the marketing coordinator said she was unaware of.
Crystal Meadows, whose 4-year-old son goes to the Orlando location, said she’s in shock over the arrest.
“Yes, I did trust them for 2 years,” she said. “Now I do not trust them, so I will be going elsewhere.”
This comes after the pediatric extended care center recently announced the temporary closures of its locations due to the hospitalization of two immediate family members, a spokesperson said in a statement Monday.
“We are a family owned and operated business. 2 of our immediately family members were/are hospitalized. Given the devastating circumstances, we as a family made the decision to temporarily suspend operations. There are rumors circulating that have nothing to do with our unfortunate reality. We are hoping to reopen as soon as possible, and a date can’t be said for certain since it involves health issues. We have notified patients’ case workers of the temporary closure, and they will be assisting parents in finding alternatives for care. We love what we do, we love our patients, and we appreciate the support we are receiving from many families and hope to see brighter days soon. Thanks.”Angels on Earth PPEC
Cabrera was booked in the Orange County Jail, but bonded out as of Wednesday night.
News 6 reached out to a spokesperson for the facility for a comment on Cabrera’s arrest and has not heard back.
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