State Roundup


Miami man pleads guilty in $5.4M Medicare fraud

DETROIT (AP) -- Federal authorities say a patient recruiter has pleaded guilty for his participation in a $5.4 million Medicare fraud scheme operated out of three Detroit-area health clinics.

Thirty-three-year-old Santiago Villa-Restrepo (VEE'-ah rehs-TREP'-oh) of Miami pleaded guilty Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow in Detroit to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. That can carry up to 10 years in prison.

The government says Villa-Restrepo admits recruiting beneficiaries for three clinics.

It says he and others paid bribes to people who agreed to attend the clinics, where they provided their Medicare provider numbers and other information.

The government says that allowed the clinics to bill for diagnostic tests that were unnecessary and sometimes weren't provided.


Proposal could help Michigan heating fund for poor

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan House Republicans have a plan to protect low-income residents from potential utility shut-offs this winter, their leaders said Tuesday.

Lawmakers announced plans to put $62 million into the state's emergency relief fund to help keep the heat on for low-income residents. The money would come from federal funds that Republicans say could be used for the heating program.

The plan also would formalize the end of the collection of a utility charge that ratepayers have been assessed. A state appeals court in July struck down the financing system used by Michigan's Low Income and Energy Efficiency Fund.

The new legislative plan would refund the about $40 million that had continued to be collected to affected utility ratepayers.

Bills could be introduced this week.

Published: Thu, Dec 1, 2011