Is this another sign that people think committing fraud is no big deal? The guy who headed a company that committed one of the largest health care scams ever is now the leading candidate to win the Republican nomination for governor of Florida. Are voters apathetic when it comes to fraud? Are they this forgiving of serious crime?
Rick Scott, as CEO of the hospital chain HCA/Columbia, oversaw a company that was accused of stealing billions of dollars through Medicare reimbursement. It was a systematic fraud scheme that ended with $1.7 billion in fines and the criminal convictions of HCA executives. Scott left the company soon after the feds launched their investigation, and that may have saved him from indictment. He was never directly tied to the fraud schemes, but it’s hard to believe that a CEO didn’t know, or at least wasn’t guilty of creating a business environment that allowed fraud to flourish.
His current lead in the polls could set up a matchup with Florida CFO Alex Sink, who oversees the state’s insurance fraud bureau. Might make for some interesting debates.
So, if Florida voters shrug at the prospects of having someone like Scott as the head of their government, what could be next? Master fraudster Martin Frankel will be out of prison in a few years. He has intimate knowledge of insurance regulation. (He avoided detection for several years while looting $200 million from insurance companies he controlled.) Perhaps he could get a commissioner’s gig somewhere?