Already charged with running one of Florida’s biggest investment scams, Fort Lauderdale brothers Joel Steinger and Steven Steiner were arrested again Wednesday in connection with a new fraud conspiracy.
A federal prosecutor known as Steinger a “serial” prison for allegedly conspiring along with his brother to create dummy companies that bilked $three million from health insurance firms. The coverage paid for Steinger’s back surgical procedure and different medical expenses, in step with the fees.
The alleged scheme unfolded both before and after the brothers were indicted in late 2008 on the initial conspiracy charges, and continued after they were released on bond in that case, prosecutors said. The men spell their last names differently.
usa magistrate pass judgement on Edwin Torres ordered that Steinger, who headed a brokerage industry that offered existence insurance policies held by means of folks loss of life of AIDS, be held on the Federal Detention heart in Miami. Torres rejected his request for bond after Assistant united states of america lawyer Jerrob Duffy mentioned Steinger, the top former govt at Mutual benefits Corp., was a danger to the group and a flight chance.
His attorney, Hector Flores, could not be reached for comment late Wednesday.
The prosecutor said Steinger not only schemed to fleece $1.25 billion from investors in the case that is still awaiting trial, but he also plotted with his brother to defraud Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, Cigna and Assurant Health after their brokerage business was shut down by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2004.
Steinger was once first of all indicted in December 2008 on charges of conspiring to dupe traders who lost a complete of $837 million in allegedly fraudulent life insurance coverage policies. but the once-rich executive received even greater notoriety the following yr whilst The Miami bring in pronounced that he had acquired a cooperation deal from the Justice department in a parallel political corruption case.
In 2007, Steinger accused major GOP fundraiser and physician Alan Mendelsohn of Broward County of shaking him down for a $400,000 political donation in exchange for a promise that Mendelsohn could get his good friend, Gov. Charlie Crist, to shut down the federal investigation into Steinger’s company.
The names of a host of other politicians and lawyers were bandied about, too, prompting a five-year political corruption probe by the Justice Department.
In the end, however, the allegations bore little fruit.
Mendelsohn pleaded guilty to income tax fraud after admitting to pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars in unreported political donations and is now serving four years in prison. Mendelsohn accused former state Sen. Mandy Dawson, a Fort Lauderdale Democrat, of accepting $82,000 from him. Indicted on tax violations last year, Dawson plans to plead guilty this spring.
Meanwhile, Steinger’s brother, Steven Steiner, 60, is already being detained at the Federal Detention middle in Miami. He was arrested in August on charges of laundering hundreds of thousands of greenbacks thru home purchases within the Northeast, hiding belongings from federal authorities and lying to a court-appointed receiver who used to be in the hunt for to reimburse burned buyers.
Steiner was charged with conspiring to divert tainted proceeds from now-defunct Mutual Benefits to buy residences in Camden, Maine, and New York City. The purpose: to support a “lavish lifestyle” with longtime partner, Henry Fecker III, who was also named in that indictment.
On Wednesday, Fecker was arrested by the FBI along with the brothers on the new charges. He is accused of conspiring with them to defraud the major health insurance companies. The magistrate judge allowed Fecker, 58, to remain free on bond before trial.
According to the new indictment unsealed Wednesday, the three defendants are accused of creating “shell” firms, Royal Oak Farms and Blue Hill trading, and announcing they have been workers of those companies.
Each defendant filed false employment claims on applications for group health insurance submitted to Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna and Assurant, the indictment states.
As a consequence, Blue pass Blue shield and Assurant provided the defendants with protection for which they weren’t certified, the indictment says. after they gained the protection, the defendants submitted claims of about $three million.
In early 2009, just after he used to be first indicted within the Mutual advantages case, Steinger underwent again surgical operation that used to be billed to some of the insurance providers, in keeping with prosecutors.
“As alleged, this case shows how sophisticated criminals use shell corporations to manipulate the private healthcare system,” said Miami attorney Ryan O’Quinn, a former prosecutor in the Mutual Benefits case. “Through this scheme, it appears that Joel Steinger, Steven Steiner and Henry Fecker shifted around $3 million in medical costs to fraudulently obtained insurance plans, all while on bond in a separate federal fraud case.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office has already convicted 10 executives, brokers and a doctor associated with Steinger’s business, including former Mutual Benefits president Peter Lombardi, who pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
They all pleaded guilty to conspiring with Steinger and the others within the scheme, which entailed shopping for and selling life insurance coverage insurance policies held through folks demise from AIDS among 1995 and 2004. They admitted misleading traders in regards to the life expectancy of the insured and the risks of buying so-referred to as viatical policies.
A federal judge recently approved prosecutors’ bid to seize and sell the brothers’ multi-million dollar waterfront homes in Fort Lauderdale.