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Delray Beach man sentenced to 41 months in prison for Medicare fraud

Charles William McElwee, 36, pleads guilty to 1 count of conspiracy
DOJ spokeswoman: Meaning of 'secret society' text message is unclear
Posted at 1:40 AM, Apr 13, 2023

MIAMI — A Delray Beach man has been sentenced to 41 months in prison after pleading guilty to buying and selling more than 2.6 million Medicare beneficiary identification numbers and other personal identifiers, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

Charles McElwee, 36, was sentenced Friday in Miami to one count of conspiracy to violate MACRA by buying and selling beneficiary identification numbers by U.S. District Judge William P. Dimitrouleas. He pleaded guilty on Jan. 27.

It was one of the first prosecutions brought under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015.

MACRA makes it illegal to buy, sell or distribute without lawful authority Medicare or Medicaid beneficiary numbers.

McElwee, whose company Lead Junkies is in Fort Lauderdale, admitted that he and his co-conspirators used "data mining" and "social engineering techniques" to collect Medicare beneficiary information, which McElwee then advertised and sold online in 2021 and 2022.

It included beneficiary names, addresses, dates of birth, Social Security numbers and Medicare beneficiary identification numbers. Some of the illicit transactions involved foreign actors, including sellers in the Philippines and buyers in Egypt, according to the indictment.

The Department of Homeland Security-Office of the Inspector General and FBI office in South Florida investigated the case.
 
Medicare beneficiaries who believe they have been a victim of medical identity theft can file a complaint with the HHS-OIG hotline by calling 800-HHS-TIPS (800-447-8477) or with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services by calling 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227).