Conspired To Buy, Sell Millions Of Personal Identification Numbers.
BY: STAFF REPORT | BocaNewsNow.com
BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2023 MetroDesk Media, LLC) — A South Florida man entered a guilty plea on Tuesday to charges that he conspired to buy and sell more than 2.6 million Medicare beneficiary identification numbers, as well as additional personal information.
The United States Department of Justice tells BocaNewsNow.com that Charles William McElwee, 36, pled guilty to one count of conspiring to violate the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), Title 42, United States Code, Section 1320a-7b(b)(4). MACRA is a law that makes it illegal to buy, sell, or distribute Medicare beneficiary identification numbers without proper authority. This is one of the first prosecutions brought under MACRA.
As part of his plea, McElwee 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. The trafficked information included beneficiary names, addresses, dates of birth, social security numbers, and Medicare beneficiary identification numbers. According to the charges, some of the illicit transactions involved foreign actors, including sellers in the Philippines.
McElwee’s sentencing hearing is set for April 7, at 1:15 p.m., before U.S. District Judge William P. Dimitrouleas. McElwee faces up to five years in federal prison.
Markenzy Lapointe, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Omar Pérez Aybar, Special Agent in Charge, Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Miami Region; and Chad Yarbrough, Acting Special Agent in Charge, FBI Miami announced the guilty plea.
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