TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Corrections Office of Inspector General arrested a former Florida State Hospital worker from Georgia for abusing a disabled adult. According to the MFCU investigation, while working at the hospital, Latavious Heard, 20, punched a disabled patient in the face, causing great bodily harm to the victim.
Heard faces one count of aggravated abuse of a disabled adult, a first-degree felony. If convicted, Heard faces up to 30 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. The State Attorney’s Office for the Second Judicial Circuit will prosecute the case.
The Florida Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigates allegations of patient abuse, neglect and exploitation in facilities receiving payments under the Medicaid program. Additionally, the MFCU investigates and prosecutes providers that intentionally defraud the state’s Medicaid program through fraudulent billing practices. Medicaid fraud essentially steals from Florida’s taxpayers. From Jan. 2011 to the present, Attorney General Bondi’s MFCU has obtained more than $700 million in settlements and judgments. In 2017, the MFCU was awarded the Inspector General’s Award for Excellence in Fighting Fraud, Waste and Abuse. This award is presented annually to the nation’s top MFCU by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.