New confessions from convicted healthcare fraudsters could lead to the arrest of 20 officials implicated in a healthcare scandal that has robbed Colombians of more than $50 million.
Arrest warrants for the 20 health officials suspected of authorizing payments of medical procedures that were never done as well as the delivery of medicines that never reached patients were filed on Monday.
Convicted systems engineers John Carlos Lamus and Mauricio Duran Poveda delivered prosecutors concrete evidence highlighting procedural irregularities which led to the embezzlement of more than $50 million.
Researchers examined thousands of incriminating documents authorized by various health insurance companies, most notably the EPS. According to Lamus and Duran, EPS approved medical procedures intended for dead people. The funds were then subsequently stolen via clever bookkeeping.
There is evidence of “dead people receiving benefits, monumental budget overruns and people successfully petitioning for a health service…but never receiving [it because] the money was kept by middlemen,” Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos announced last May.
Another report by Colombia’s Ombudsman found that EPS employees received training on how to commit fraud.
Lamus and Duran were convicted 17 months ago as part of the investigation that led to the arrest of the Finance Director of the Ministry of Social Protection, Claudia Patricia Rojas.
Sources close to the case said that this second chapter of the scandal is only the tip of the iceberg. Prosecution has stalled however due to an ongoing judicial strike.