A Miami man was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison following his conviction for wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, Brandon Fremin, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana, announced Friday in a case that involved Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana.
Keaton L. Copeland, 34, owned and oversaw a health insurance brokerage company, Express ACA, based out of Miami. Though the company's role was to assist people enrolling in health insurance policies under the Affordable Care Act, employees submitted thousands of fraudulent health insurance applications between January 2014 and May 2015, often on behalf of people who did not need health insurance and had no knowledge of the application submissions, Fremin said.
During this time, Copeland instructed his employees to enter false information on the applications, according to a Department of Justice release. Most of the health insurance policies were fully subsidized by the federal government.
Copeland expected to receive commission fees from insurance companies in exchange for these fraudulent policies — including from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana. It, along with other insurance companies, discovered the fraud and prevented Copeland's further attempts to defraud other companies, Fremin said.
In addition to time in federal prison, Copeland was sentenced to three years of supervised release following his imprisonment and has been ordered to pay $98,987 in restitution. After a six-day trial the jury unanimously convicted him on five counts of wire fraud and one count of wire fraud conspiracy.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Louisiana, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Office of Inspector General, the FBI and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Financial Investigations Office worked together to investigate the incident.