A few days ago, the United States Attorney's office in Miami announced the indictment of several individuals on a combination of health care and immigration fraud charges.
Three of the individuals, Maritza Exposito, Arnaldo Oscar Jimenez, and Yomara Vila, apparently acted as runners and procurers for Fernando Mendez Villamil, a practicing psychiatrist in the Miami-Dade metro area, who in turn provided sham services for which Medicare and Medicaid were charged.
In addition, all four acted as principles in aiding those who procured the fake services to make false statements on applications for naturalization — namely by ensuring that the individuals were given fake medical certificates in order to bypass the English language and government-civics requirements for naturalization.
That people would feel a need to resort to this scam is pretty shocking given how significantly both those requirements have been altered in recent years to be sure that nearly anyone can pass and become a citizen. In fact, the potential questions on the test can be found at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website for study purposes, along with self-testing and a host of other materials,.
Equally disturbing, though, is that the naturalization fraud portion of the investigation only seems to have come about as an afterthought, due to the ongoing inquiries into Medicare and Medicaid claims that led to suspicions of health care fraud by the principles — primarily Villamil the psychiatrist.
Once again it shows that the USCIS vetting standards are abysmal. This generally very low threshold doesn't just lead to increased numbers of aliens risking fraud to obtain entry and benefits and, ultimately, citizenship. Lately, it has also shown, again and again, that it makes the country less safe because when fraud is so rampant it enables hardened criminals such as cartel members, and extremists including terrorists, to hide in the midst of that mountain of systemic abuse.
This has been a problem for years, but it has gotten much worse in this administration, which looks on with a benign (if not blind) eye at the abuse, and even encourages it with foolish faux privacy rights policies, such as that restricting use of Internet searches or social media to detect miscreants, ostensibly to "protect" applicants from tiresome government meddling, even though such meddling is their job. After all, it is the applicant seeking something from the government — not the other way round.
In the instant matter, when naturalization examiners began seeing a pattern of "medical" certificates justifying waiver of the English or civics examinations (presumably because of some kind of mental incapacity) — all emanating from one source — wouldn't logic dictate that you take a look at the source? A simple Internet search would have shown that the shrink, the good Dr. Villamil, already had a notorious reputation as a pill-pusher who had previously been fined and reprimanded by state authorities for over-prescription of medications and, in the ultimate irony, was himself required to undergo an evaluation for mental fitness.
As Inspector Clouseau would say, "I theenk we have found a clew!"