sale of 2.6 million Medicare identification numbers
A South Florida man has used the international reach of the Internet and his international contacts to bolster the Miami metro area’s status as America’s health insurance fraud capital.
When Broward County resident Charles McElwee posted an online ad promising “Medicare data for sale,” he wasn’t lying to anyone. McElwee illegally acquired Medicare Beneficiary Identification Numbers (BINs), formed a Fort Lauderdale company to sell them for about 12 cents per number, and made $310,000 selling 2.6 million BINs.
It is in McElwee’s admission of the facts of his guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to violate the Medicare Access and Chip Reauthorization Act of 2015. This law officially makes it illegal to buy, sell, or distribute BIN Medicare without the owner’s permission. Fraudsters use BINs to commit Medicare fraud with false claims.
McElwee, who was convicted of possession of cocaine while living in Boynton Beach, is set to be sentenced on April 7 in federal court in Fort Lauderdale by U.S. District Judge William P. Dimitrouleas.
If you believe your health insurance or medical information has been stolen, call either the Inspector General’s Office of Health and Human Services at 800-HHS-TIPS (800-447-8477) or the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at 800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).
No love, but Medicare ID numbers for sale
McElwee’s guilty plea indicates he ran his information market from July 2021 to September 2022. On December 14, 2021, he registered Lead Junkies with status using Suite 190A’s address at 3303 W. Commercial Blvd., a huge office building in Fort Lauderdale.
McElwee released the aforementioned announcement on December 7, 2021. The following day, a confidential source contacted McElwee, who said, “I have quite a large amount of data available, do you need it for a certain vertical (market) ?
He also assured the law enforcement source: “I also work with a data mining company that produces new data daily that I also have full access to” and “I have been working with the same guys for 3 years now so I can get anything you need on demand within about 24 hours if any special interest is desired.
Its price: 12 cents a lime, a minimum purchase of 5,000 limes ($600).
Checking McElwee’s emails and bank statements shows that he purchased numerous BINs from “co-conspirators claiming to be in the Philippines”. Also, these records show [McElwee] repeatedly sold and distributed the BINs to co-conspirators in the United States and abroad.
Last April 5, McElwee made a big deal out of a buyer by selling 83,000 people’s BINs to someone for $8,000. Overall, McElwee sold 2.6 million BIN and earned $310,000.
This matter was investigated by HHS-OIG and FBI Miami and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jon Juenger.