Hialeah Commissioner Arrested for Healthcare Fraud Suspended by DeSantis

Hialeah Commissioner Arrested for Healthcare Fraud Suspended by DeSantis

Liv Caputo
Liv Caputo
June 25, 2024

MIAMI, FL—Angelica Pacheco tried and failed three times to win a Hialeah City Council seat, though her fourth try seemed to be the charm when she succeeded in November. Until the FBI arrested her.

Now, Governor Ron DeSantis has issued an executive order indefinitely suspending the embattled councilwoman, accused of falsely billing insurers millions of dollars for "medically unnecessary" procedures at her addiction treatment center, the Miami Herald reported.

In other words, healthcare fraud.

"I, Ron DeSantis, Governor of Florida...find as follows...Angelica Pacheco is suspended from the public office she now holds," the executive order, issued Tuesday afternoon, reads. Furthermore, she is prohibited from "performing any official act, duty, or function of public office [and] from receiving any pay or allowance."

Minutes before the order was issued, Pacheco posted a Spanish YouTube video entitled "The Tireless Fight in Search of Justice Has Consequences", where she claimed Hialeah Mayor Esteban Bovo had threatened her. Why? Because she was allegedly too honest with the public by “exposing” things that could put people in danger.

"They have to do something scandalous to silence me, creating a media scandal to distract the public and the press from what is really happening in the City of Hialeah,” she said in Spanish in the video. “They are trying to find a way to get rid of me."

Bovo posted to X, saying her alleged crimes are “not related nor linked” to “her capacity as an elected official.”

So, what did she do?

On June 18th, Pacheco was indicted by a grand jury in federal court for five counts of healthcare fraud, two counts of wire fraud, and one count of conspiring to do so. These are all felonies, meaning she faces at least five years per count.

According to the indictment, Pacheco, a registered nurse, allegedly defrauded private insurance companies from July 2017 to August 2020 by "submitting and causing" fraudulent claims and paying bribes.

The indictment continues, claiming Pacheco would ensure her patients were "docile" and wanted to stay with her business by giving them medications "in quantities and combinations" that diverted from "legitimate medical practice, and which were intended to offer patients a substitute for a narcotic or alcohol-induced high."

Lastly, she's accused of billing patients not enrolled in treatment and creating false business loan applications during the pandemic.

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Liv Caputo

Liv Caputo

Livia Caputo is a senior at Florida State University, working on a major in Criminology, and a triple minor in Psychology, Communications, and German. She has been working on a journalism career for the past year, and hopes to become a successful reporter after graduation. Her work has been cited in Fox News, the New York Post, and the Daily Mail

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