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For Immediate Release

Contact:
April 02, 2016 Barry Golden, Senior Inspector
Southern District of Florida (954) 214-0301;
Mary M. Kahn: Media Communications
Office of Inspector General (202) 557-8221
Department of Health and Human Services
South Florida Fugitive Captured After 20 Years on the Run
Robert Allen Lopez Found Hiding in Nicaragua; Defrauded Medicare of Millions
 

Miami, FL - United States Marshal Amos Rojas Jr. announces the arrest of fugitive Robert Allen Lopez. After almost 20 years on the run, Lopez is now in U.S. custody after he was located and arrested in Nicaragua on November 14, 2015 by the Nicaraguan National Police and was deported back to South Florida today to face federal charges. A team of Deputy U.S. Marshals flew to Nicaragua today and returned Lopez to the U.S.

“The arrest of Robert Allen Lopez demonstrates the commitment of the U.S. Marshals and our federal, state and local partners to pursue those wanted on an international level,” said U.S. Marshal Amos Rojas Jr. “Lopez’s apprehension sends a strong message to criminals around the globe that it’s not a matter if we find you, it’s when. Crossing global boundaries to avoid prosecution is no longer a viable option with the substantial resources and law enforcement cooperation in place. His capture is a victory for law enforcement and the U.S. government.”

According to an indictment, from July 1991 to June 1994, Lopez and others conspired to defraud the U.S. government by establishing numerous fake companies that filed false Medicare claims totaling more than $4.3 million on behalf of patients for services that were medically unnecessary or were never provided. In July 1995, Lopez was arrested and charged with conspiracy. On December 14, 1995, Lopez pled guilty to an Information which was filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami federal court. He was released on bail on the condition that he not change his residence or leave the area without permission. Lopez violated the terms of his release when he could not be found at his residence and later failed to appear for sentencing, hence branding him a fugitive from the law. In addition to the original indictment, Lopez is facing additional charges for being a fugitive for two decades. On 07/22/1997, Lopez was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of Failure to Appear for Sentencing.

When Lopez fled South Florida, he took his two children with him but left his wife behind. Miami Dade Police charged him with interference with the custody of a child. In 2000, Lopez’ 10-year-old son was found wandering the streets of Cancun, Mexico. The child was taken into protective custody. When a person claiming to be the boy’s uncle came to visit him, Mexican police were able to identify that person as Lopez after obtaining his fingerprints from a coffee cup, but he eluded capture. In March 2000, Lopez’ son was returned to the U.S. where he was returned to his mother in Miami.

The fugitive investigation for Lopez recently gained momentum when federal agents from the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service and Department of Health and Human Services received information that Lopez was living in Nicaragua under a fake name. The information was forwarded to the U.S. Marshals Service, where investigators coordinated with the U.S. Embassy in Nicaragua and the Nicaraguan Ministry of Foreign Affairs to arrest him. Lopez has remained at a detention facility in Nicaragua since November of 2015 pending his deportation back to the U.S.

“We stand resolute in our pursuit of those, like Lopez, who would defraud Medicare and the American taxpayer” said Office of the Inspector General Special Agent in Charge Shimon Richmond, “even after 20 years on the run, justice can and will be served.”

“I am thankful for all the interagency cooperation that helped bring closure to this long standing case,” said Rojas.

Lopez’s arrest and deportation were the result of efforts by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of State’ Diplomatic Security Service, Interpol, U.S. Embassy Managua, Nicaragua, the Department of Homeland Security in Nicaragua, U.S. Customs & Border Protection, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations Division Miami/Naples, and the U.S. Marshals Service.

Additional information about the U.S. Marshals Service can be found at http://www.usmarshals.gov.

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