I’ll swap you your lifesaving medicine for a Lamborghini
After reading the news coming out of Florida in the past year, Outliers is starting to think the FBI ought to consider doing criminal background checks on anyone buying a Lamborghini—especially if they pay for it with cash.
Two accused Ponzi schemers in Florida, Scott Rothstein of Miami ($1.2 billion) and Beau Diamond of Sarasota ($38 million), were well-known for driving the flashy Italian race cars. Now we’ve learned that Ihosvany Marquez, a conspirator in a massive South Florida Medicare fraud scheme, also drove Lamborghinis.
Marquez, in fact, bought two of them, because goodness knows you can’t show up for a yacht party in the same orange Lamborghini Gallardo you arrived in the week before. You need a yellow one, too, and make it a Lamborghini Murcielago, with those cool scissor doors that open upward like a spaceship’s.
Marquez pleaded guilty last week to federal charges of Medicare fraud. Court documents show that despite purchasing multiple Lamborghinis, and other high-priced cars such as Bentleys and Ferraris, Marquez reported not one dime of earnings to the Florida Revenue Department during the period of time when the seven shell companies he controlled bilked Medicare out of $55 million.
In the kind of scheme for which South Florida has become infamous in recent years, Marquez and several conspirators obtained Medicare numbers and in 2005 began billing the federal government for medication and infusion equipment to treat HIV, AIDS and cancer, along with pain management drugs, varicose vein treatments and “auto accident-- related treatments,” his indictment says.
In reality, no patients were treated, and the $55 million went straight into the conspirators’ pockets, Marquez admitted in court.
On a serious note, Outliers can’t help but be struck by a sad juxtaposition of news events. While Marquez was ripping off the system with fake bills for HIV services, a New York hospital famous for its lifesaving treatments of HIV patients was devolved into financial insolvency. This month St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan announced it can no longer afford to keep its doors open, weighed down by millions in debt. A bitter day indeed.
Architect Frank Gehry is seen outside his recently completed, mindbending creation: Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, which specializes in neurological-disease research.
Lamborghinis seem to be the posh choice of Ponzi schemers.