DeSantis suspends Hialeah city council member following federal indictment

by | Jun 25, 2024



Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended Hialeah City Council member Angelica Pacheco following her indictment on multiple federal felony charges


Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended Angelica Pacheco from her role as a City Council member for Hialeah on Tuesday following her recent indictment on multiple federal felony charges.

The directive, effective immediately and issued by Executive Order, invokes provisions from both the Florida Constitution and state statutes regarding the suspension of elected officials facing criminal indictment.

Pacheco was indicted by a grand jury on June 18 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Her charges include one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, five counts of health care fraud, and two counts of wire fraud.

In the order, DeSantis cited the need to maintain public trust and the integrity of office as the primary reasons for the suspension.

“It is in the best interests of the residents of the City of Hialeah, and the citizens of the State of Florida, that Ms. Pacheco be immediately suspended from the public office she now holds,” DeSantis said.

During her suspension, Pacheco is prohibited from performing any official acts, duties, or functions, and from receiving any pay, allowance, or enjoying any privileges of her public office. The executive order will remain in effect until further notice, pending the outcome of Pacheco’s trial.

According to the indictment, Pacheco was involved in a complex scheme aimed at defrauding health care and insurance programs. Pacheco and her co-conspirators fabricated claims for medical services that were either not provided or were medically unnecessary, and then submitted these fraudulent claims to healthcare benefit programs to illicitly gain substantial payouts. The methods referenced in the indictment included manipulating billing codes and falsifying patient treatment reports to support their false claims.

The fraudulent activities were further enhanced by using wire communications to execute the scheme, which involved transferring ill-gotten funds across state lines, thereby compounding her legal troubles with multiple counts of wire fraud alongside health care fraud.

“Angelica Pacheco, did knowingly and willfully, … execute a scheme and artifice to defraud a health care benefit program affecting commerce … by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises, money and property owned by, and under the custody and control of, said health care benefit programs, in connection with the delivery of and payment for health care benefits, items, and services,” the order reads.

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