DeSantis Suspends Councilwoman Accused of Fraud

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[Photo Credit: By Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America - Ron DeSantis, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=139870310]

Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order suspending a Hialeah city councilwoman on Tuesday.

The governor’s office announced that councilwoman Angelica Pacheco would be suspended following a federal grand jury indictment for conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud.

According to state law, the governor of Florida has the authority to suspend any official indicted for a federal offense.

Under this suspension, the councilwoman would be prevented from performing any official responsibilities as a councilwoman, earning any compensation for her position, or exercising any public office rights.

The order will remain in effect until DeSantis issues another order or the law requires it to be lifted.

According to NBC station WTVJ, Pacheco, who was elected in November, was accused of charging insurance companies for more than $19 million in claims for services at his former treatment clinic, Florida Life Recovery and Rehabilitation.

The indictment alleged that the facility, which is no longer in operation, made the assertions over a three-year period.

In reaction to the indictment, the councilwoman denied everything in a Spanish statement, claiming that while the allegations originated in Hialeah, the mayor was behind the inquiry because of “her extensive network of contacts.”

Hialeah Mayor Esteban Bovo Jr. issued his own statement, stating that the federal allegations were unrelated to her duties as a councilwoman, but that it is nonetheless an unpleasant incident.

[READ MORE: DeSantis Signs New Law That Bans The Release of Balloons]

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