Chile took down a network of foreign doctors accused of selling sick leave over the Internet

In December 2022, evidence presented by the Chilean investigative police against fake doctors.POI

It is like a beauty product or a piece, the advertisement on social networks is as follows: “Get your medical license here. Prices vary according to days. Like $80 a month, maybe $35 for 11 days of vacation. Interested parties are referred to a Chile WhatsApp number to contact a doctor I asked him the reasons for the medical leave. Once the money was deposited, the health professional handed over the document to him. The Santiago Metropolitan Prosecutor’s Office detailed the intricacies of a network of foreign doctors, mainly Colombians, who for three years, according to the prosecution, issued licenses without providing actual care, causing tax damages estimated at nearly $800 million. The trial court has set a trial period of 120 days.

In the second week of December, the public ministry ordered the detention of seven doctors — four men and three women — accused of leading an association accused of issuing and selling ideologically false medical licenses, fraud, embezzlement of government grants and money laundering. At the same hearing in the Chilean capital’s 14th Court of Guarantee, Judge Carlos Muñoz Sepúlveda left the other 23 defendants in the case with precautionary measures such as house arrest and national ties. Lawyers for the defendants maintain their innocence and allege a lack of evidence.

A shot at the number of medical licenses It triggered mid-year alerts in Chile’s health system. A doctor issues an average of 140 licenses a year, but today the number of doctors in detention has reached 1,600, which police say is one every two minutes. The State Security Council – the judicial representative of the Public Health Organization (FONASA) – and the Ispres Association (a private organization) warned of the spike in casualties published by the Ministry of Public Affairs and the Office of the National Prosecutor. After five months of investigation, they discovered the system. Prior to the investigation, the High Complexity and Organized Crime Prosecutor’s Office of the Eastern District Attorney’s Office and police raided two medical centers and 32 facilities to arrest 29 defendants.

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Elements of the Chilean investigative police.
Elements of the Chilean investigative police. POI

Constanza Encina, a high-profile prosecutor of eastern organized crime, explained during the 11-hour trial that the fraud mechanism was carried out through various medical associations. , caused economic damage to FONASA, which was paid for unjustified days of absence from work by workers. According to the Eastern Metropolitan Prosecutor’s Office, between August 2021 and July 2022, the financial damage reaches almost 800 million dollars, which means “25% of the budget FONASA to pay license”.

The defendants were divided into three groups: physicians who issued false licenses; Recruiters responsible for promoting and selling licenses on social networks, and legal representatives, whether doctors or not, professionals who play an important role in carrying out procedures in Chile can practice medicine. explained to the press. Third Vice-Chief Marcelo Romero is the head of the Economic Crimes Unit of Chile’s Investigative Police (PDI). Juan Peribonio, president of the State Security Council (CDE), did not rule out CNN criminal cases against those who buy false medical licenses.

The most famous case of corruption is the Colombian doctor couple created by Samir Rivaldo and Yesica Sonato. Rivaldo issued 16,039 medical licenses between 2020 and 2022, and his partner issued another 9,812 medical licenses between April 2021 and June 2022. Both established companies to provide healthcare services: Dr. Midite and Provimedc SPA, respectively. Plaintiff attorneys say it’s impossible to provide actual medical care. Each patient had only a few minutes for a consultation. Defense attorneys for the accused say this is possible through telemedicine and longer working hours. Between Rivaldo and Sonata, they caused more than nine million dollars in tax damages, according to the lawsuit. At the time of their arrest, the couple had their bags packed and a safe containing $60,000 in cash and nine million Chilean pesos (just over $10,000).

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Esmond Harmon

"Entrepreneur. Social media advocate. Amateur travel guru. Freelance introvert. Thinker."

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